After turning down Liverpool for Chelsea, Romeo Lavia is yet to make his debut for the club, with a serious ankle injury set to keep him sidelined.
The to-and-fro between Lavia and Moises Caicedo in the latter weeks of the transfer window ultimately left Liverpool with neither.
So far this season, none of those three players have set things alight, but the situation around Lavia – who reports claimed turned Liverpool down as he felt like their “second choice” – is different.
His initial recovery time was slated for six weeks, but a recent update from Mauricio Pochettino showed it is likely to be even longer.
“I don’t believe [he will be back],” he replied when asked if Lavia would be fit after the international break.
“I cannot tell you, but he is still not running. After the international break, he is not going to be ready, Romeo.”
Of course, this is a situation which no longer concerns Liverpool, who moved on to other targets and, if reports are to be believed, could be planning a bid for Fluminense’s Andre in January.
But Lavia’s plight could indicate an early problem avoided in pursuing a player who became crucial to Southampton‘s relegation battle last season.
Joining as an 18-year-old from Man City, Lavia had only made two appearances at first-team level prior to his switch to St Mary’s, amounting to 97 minutes on the pitch.
His campaign with the Saints was, therefore, his first full season as a senior professional, and he went on to play 34 times, clocking 2,490 minutes on the pitch.
From January to May, he featured in all but one game, starting 23 of 26, and ended the campaign on a run of 11 consecutive starts in the Premier League.
This heightened workload will have undoubtedly played a part in his increased risk of injury upon swapping Southampton for Chelsea, having already missed the summer’s U21 Euros with Belgium due to a muscle issue.
It is a problem Liverpool faced with the growing importance of an 18-year-old Stefan Bajcetic in the second half of last season.
Bajcetic was on a regular run of starts in his first season as a senior professional, before suffering an abductor injury in March which ended his campaign early and, with setbacks, has seen him feature just twice since.
Much of it remains conjecture, particularly as Lavia’s injury was sustained in training, but he may not have arrived as the readymade starter Liverpool required.