Reports: Pep Guardiola considers 17-year-old academy midfielder Romeo Lavia for first-team
Pep Guardiola is considering promoting a highly-regarded academy defensive midfielder to his first-team squad next season despite Fernandinho extending his contract at the club for a further season.
According to the ever-reliable Mike McGrath of The Telegraph, Pep Guardiola is giving serious consideration to having Romeo Lavia around the first-team squad next season to provide backup to his midfielders. McGrath reports that Guardiola wants to promote the 17-year-old defensive midfielder even though Fernandinho has eased the pressure of needing a replacement by signing a one-year contract.
City were reportedly tracking the progress of 23-year-old Manuel Locatelli, but Juventus are said to be at the front of the queue for the Sassuolo midfielder, who has played a crucial role in Roberto Mancini's Italy side's success at Euro 2020. Lavia's progress is cited as a reason why City can concentrate on other areas that need strengthening.
City signed Lavia from Anderlecht last summer, and the Belgian youngster has gone on to impress at the title-winning U-23s despite only being 17 - so much so that he won the EDS Player of the Year in his debut season in the club's youth ranks.
In an April interview with Goal, Lavia revealed that he has watched a lot of Fernandinho and has spoken with the City captain:
"I’ve watched a lot of Fernandinho and [Sergio] Busquets. Those two have dominated the game as defensive midfielders. I’ve looked at them a lot. Fernandinho knows what he’s doing - he doesn’t run just to run. He’s like the brain of the team. When you’re young you want to run - left, right - but he knows what he’s doing so he won’t run as much, but will still be effective. That’s something I keep learning from him. I’ve spoken to him but not in person because of Covid, so just on social media."
It's likely the majority of the fanbase will catch their first glimpses of Lavia at preseason this summer with Guardiola keen to allow youngsters to impress before the season starts, and with so many of the regulars unlikely to be present due to reaching the latter stages of Copa America and the Euros.
Lavia will be prepared for whatever situation he finds himself in next season:
"You just have to believe in yourself, When you come here [Manchester City], you know you’re here for a reason, so just play your football like always."
Manchester City will look to discuss a new contract with Raheem Sterling, whose current deal expires in 2023, after the Euros, according to Jack Gaughan of Mail Sport. Gaughan reports that City are relaxed about the situation, but are preparing to sit down with England's man of the moment in the European Championship over the summer to hold talks over his future. Gaughan and Matt Hughes, also of the Mail, revealed back in April that the 26-year-old would conduct negotiations by himself, with the help of two lawyers - following a similar path to Kevin De Bruyne.
Written by: @NA1907_
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