Having been on Pep Guardiola’s radar since the age of 14, after he caught the attention of the Blues boss at the world famous KDB Cup in 2018, Lavia has gone on to have an incredible first year in Manchester, culminating in the 17 year-old being named the EDS Player of the Year
Every year, Europe’s best academy sides send teams to Drongen, to compete in the Kevin De Bruyne Cup, and it was Anderlecht’s showing in the 2018 edition of the tournament, with Pep Guardiola in attendance, which would propel the career of teenager Romeo Lavia.
An astounding showing in this tournament led to a Premier League bidding war ensuing for the defensive midfielder, with the City Football Academy successfully signing the then 16 year-old for an undisclosed fee in the Summer of 2020.
Lavia, who has been at the Blues for just over the year, is now reportedly going to be joining the Premier League Champions, after Mike Mcgrath reported that Pep Guardiola wants to promote the teenage prospect to the first-team squad for the upcoming 2021/2022 season.
This skilful, intelligent and talented teen has been rewarded for a dream debut season, with the opportunity to now develop as a number six, under the management of Pep Guardiola, and the mentoring of Fernandinho – a defensive-midfield dream team.
Fernandinho signing a new one-year contract, coupled with Carlos Vicens’ promotion to Pep Guardiola’s coaching team, means Romeo Lavia is incredibly well-placed to both continue to develop, yet also thrive with the main squad.
In April, the teenager spoke of the learning opportunities Manchester City captain Fernandinho provides him, as he told Goal, “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,” he continued.
Lavia’s comparisons to the 36 year-old Manchester City legend came after his key role in the EDS’ Premier League 2 title victory, as the 17 year-old shone alongside the likes of Cole Palmer, Tommy Doyle and James Mcatee in a scintillating midfield.
The Belgian youngster, who was promoted to the EDS squad late last year made 15 appearances in Premier League 2, as well making two showings in the EFL trophy and 11 appearances in the U18 Premier League – a quite remarkable first season, especially for a teenager who found himself settling into life in a new country during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Despite playing in that number six role, the Belgian youngster also had three direct goal involvements – one goal and two assists in PL2 during the campaign as he clocked over 2,000 minutes of playing time.
Lavia’s most high-profile performance came in April, as he played a crucial role in Manchester City’s U23s derby demolition of city rivals Manchester United.
As well as looking incredibly confident, and unfazed by the task of dealing with a mouthwateringly talented Manchester United side which included Charlie Mcann, Shola Shoretire and Hannibal Mejbri, Lavia’s outstanding positional play allowed him to make a neat interception and play a perfect pass, as Manchester City took an early lead.
The Belgian midfielder says that Sergio Busquets and Fernandinho have “dominated the game as defensive midfielders” and that he’s “looked at them a lot” as he prepares to spend the new campaign under a manager who has worked closely with both players.
Phil Foden has proved that patience is key when making the leap to the first-team, but with Fernandinho only extending for a further 12 months and Manchester City opting not to pursue a deal for Italian star Manuel Locatelli, Romeo Lavia’s path to cementing his place in the Blues’ midfield for years to come couldn’t be clearer.
Although both Fernandinho and Rodri predominantly occupy the defensive-midfield spot, Pep Guardiola has not been afraid to use his academy talents in the domestic cup competitions.
One can therefore look forward to the prospect of Roméo Lavia’s first-team debut coming in the not too distant future…
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