Leeds United and Victor Orta enjoyed an extremely impressive summer transfer window, with the Whites welcoming no fewer than nine fresh faces to Elland Road prior to the closure of the market on September 1.
While the signings of Sonny Perkins, Wilfried Gnonto and Darko Gyabi are very much additions for the future, the likes of Brendan Aaronson, Rasmus Kristensen, Luis Sinisterra and Tyler Adams have all made an immediate and eye-catching impact within Jesse Marsch’s first team squad, helping the club get off to an impressive start in their 2022/23 campaign.
For all the exciting additions that Orta managed to bring into the club this summer, though, there was one failed move from the Spaniard which could end up costing Leeds big time further down the line, in the shape of Romeo Lavia.
Indeed, during Manchester City’s pursuit of Kalvin Phillips in the summer, The Athletic reported that Leeds were extremely keen to include the 18-year-old Lavia in a potential player-plus-cash deal for the England international.
However, while Phillips did end up joining Pep Guardiola’s side in a £45m move, Lavia remained at the Etihad Stadium, at least until Southampton parted with £14m in order to bring the defensively-minded talent to St Mary’s in July – a deal in which City included a £40m buy-back clause.
Considering just how impressive the teenager has been since linking up with Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side, it is not difficult to understand why Orta was so keen on a move for the Belgium under-21 international, nor it is hard to see why City included an option to bring the midfielder back to the club at some point in the future.
Indeed, over his five Premier League appearances for Saints so far this season, the £1.8m-rated talent has taken to the top flight like a duck to water, having made two interceptions, 1.4 tackles and one dribble and completed 30.6 passes per game while marshalling the midfield.
These returns have seen the player who Jacob Tanswell dubbed “precocious” and Jonathan Smith labelled “outstanding” average an impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.02, ranking him as Hasenhuttl’s fifth-best performer in the league so far in the Saints’ 2022/23 campaign.
So impressive has the youngster – who Benjy Nurick claimed is “Yaya Toure-like” – been this season that, despite having only arrived on the south coast roughly two months ago, Chelsea launched a £50m deadline day bid for the 18-year-old – an offer that Southampton rejected.
As such, not only would it appear as if Leeds missed out on the signing of a world-class talent when failing to land Lavia this summer, but also on a considerable payday further down the line. If Chelsea believe that the teenager is worth £50m after just five games in the top flight, it is frightening to imagine how much the Belgian starlet will be worth by the end of the season.