By West Ham Zone speaking to Frank McAvennie

31st May, 2023 | 5:10pm

We’re delighted to welcome former West Ham United striker Frank McAvennie as our exclusive columnist. Each week he’ll be giving his views on the biggest talking points at the London Stadium

West Ham United should stay away from a deal for Southampton midfielder Romeo Lavia despite Champions League clubs showing an interest too.

The Hammers have been linked with a £40m move for the Belgian youngster after the Saints were relegated (ExWHUemployee, 24 May), and are expected to compete with the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool linked with the 19-year-old.

But according to McAvennie there are already good young players at the London Stadium who deserve an opportunity and the club should be focused on bringing in ready-made players to improve the squad rather than youngsters.

“If they’ve been relegated I don’t think we should be looking,” he told West Ham Zone.

“If we want to compete then we need to be better defensively. There are good young players at West Ham, I don’t think they need another one.

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“I don’t know much about the boy, but I would say no.

“West Ham need to buy players who can come into the first-team and do a job, not someone who we’re hoping will be good enough.”

Declan Rice is expected to leave the club this summer and David Moyes, or whoever the manager is, will need to ensure he is adequately replaced in central midfield.

Lavia’s current Southampton teammate James Ward-Prowse has also been linked, as has Kalvin Phillips of Manchester City.