Who is Romeo Lavia?
Roméo Lavia is City EDS' 17-year-old holding midfielder, who has been touted over the last few months as a potential long term replacement for City legend Fernandinho! The 2004-born youngster joined us last year, in 2020, and has been a key component in the side’s PL2 success since then, featuring heavily at the base of the midfield!
Image from MEN.
Before joining City, the first thing that grabbed City's attention with Lavia was his appearance in the 'Kevin De Bruyne Cup' in 2018, for Anderlecht, which Pep Guardiola attended! The Catalan was clearly very impressed by the young Belgian.
Lavia has been a very highly rated prospect since a very young age, with him said to have been on Pep Guardiola's radar since the KDB Cup, when he was just 14! He eventually made the switch from the purple of RSC Anderlecht to the blue of Manchester City for an undisclosed fee in 2020, two years since City became aware of him.
© Man City
In terms of his playstyle, Lavia is described on the club website as a "Commanding, ball-winning midfielder", but offers much more than first meets the eye! Commonly, Lavia operate at the base of a midfield four, in the EDS' highly successful 'Three-Box-Three' formation!
Last month, I watched Roméo play for the first time in an EFL Trophy match against League 2 Scunthorpe United, with City triumphing 3-0, and Lavia quietly having a stellar performance for the young blues. I believe his main attributes are very key to any holding midfielder, namely his ball retention and awareness.
Firstly, I do not have any retention stats for Lavia, but whenever I've seen him on City + or last month vs Scunthorpe, I've been immensely impressed with how much the players around him were able to consistently rely on him keeping that ball. If he was ever in an ounce of trouble, Lavia has a drop of the shoulder, or a touch in the opposite direction in his locker, taking himself away from what otherwise could've been a costly situation. This also ties in with his awareness, with Lavia constantly knowing where both his teammates, and the opposition are, and knowing when to play a progressive pass and when to play a sideways or backwards pass, retaining possession a majority of the time!
Image from MEN.
Pep Guardiola's holding midfielder's have been notoriously important to his sides' successes over the years, with Sergio Busquets, Xabi Alonso and Fernandinho each being pivotal at Barça, Bayern and of course City, respectively, and each of those three share very important qualities, all of which are key to any man, or boy at the moment, who may wish to take over the reins for City in the years to come! As I mentioned previously, retention and positional awareness are two of these core requirements. As well as this, discipline is key for that position in particular, as one misjudged pass from a wrong decision could be catastrophic, in a team and position where possession is often the aim of the game.
After watching many hours of Lavia playing, I can't think of any reason why he shouldn't be City's long term replacement for Fernandinho or at least deputise for Rodri after the Brazilian's departure! It's still early for Lavia, but I'm sure he has a bright future ahead of him!
Written by Tom/@TomCaldwell_.