The young midfielder, who suffered relegation with the Saints last term, had been a priority target for Liverpool this summer. But he has instead elected to move to Stamford Bridge, with the Blues sealing a deal that will see them pay an initial £53million for Lavia with a further £5m being paid in potential add-ons.
It comes after they added Moises Caicedo, who Liverpool also bid for, in a British record £115million deal as Mauricio Pochettino reinforced the spine of his side. Lavia joined Southampton from Manchester City 12 months ago and the champions stand to earn 20 per cent – an initial £10.6m – due to a sell-on clause.
Lavia has signed a seven-year contract and will wear the No.45 shirt. His deal will see him earn an initial £100k-a-week, a figure that it’s believed will grow over the course of his deal assuming certain conditions are met.
He said: “I’m really happy join Chelsea and be a part of this exciting project. It’s an amazing football club with a great history and I’m really excited to get started.
“I can’t wait to meet all my new team-mates and build a chemistry together to achieve great things together.”
Co-sporting directors Laurence Stewart and Paul Winstanley said: “We are very pleased to welcome Romeo to Chelsea. He demonstrated his quality in the Premier League last season at Southampton, showing maturity despite his young age, and is a player we have monitored for some time.
“We believe he is ready to make an impact at Chelsea throughout the current campaign, and in the coming years.”
A Southampton statement declared: “We would like to thank Roméo for his efforts and also his professionalism during his time with the club, and we wish him every success in what we’re sure will be a fantastic career.”
Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images
Lavia posted a farewell message to Southampton on his Instagram account on Friday morning, writing: “To Saints Fans. As I say goodbye, I want to say a big thank you for everything you have given me during my time here. I’ve instantly felt the love from you all despite us not achieving our shared goals.
“I’ll never forget the belief the club and Saints all around the world showed me and I hope I was able to repay the faith you put in me.
“I would especially like to thank all my teammates and all staff members within the club involved closely or not for putting your arms around me since the day I walked through the Staplewood Campus and for all the daily work and help behind the scenes making me become a better person, athlete and football player. You have all played a massive part into making my integration into real professional football easier.
“I will be forever grateful to you. For those reasons, this club will always remain close to my heart. Good luck this season and I look forward to seeing the club marching back to the Premier League where it belongs very soon! Thank you Saints. Roméo”
The 19-year-old had seen Southampton reject several bids from Liverpool, who continued to come up short of his valuation at St Mary’s – leaving Lavia’s camp frustrated. That tactic eventually backfired with Lavia ultimately deciding that he wanted to head to west London.