Mauricio Pochettino admits Romeo Lavia is 'not ready' to play for Chelsea after watching him in training
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Chelsea manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that new signing Romeo Lavia is not yet ready to play for the club after arriving from Southampton.
Lavia joined Chelsea for an initial fee of £53 million earlier in August, with the Blues beating Liverpool to his signature.
But the Belgian was not named in the matchday squad to take on West Ham last Sunday, and also wasn't seen in training earlier this week.
Lavia has not made a competitive appearance this season, having appeared on the bench for Southampton's opening game of the Championship season against Sheffield Wednesday but not included thereafter.
Mauricio Pochettino on Romeo Lavia absence
Speaking in his pre-match press conference ahead of Chelsea's game against Luton on Friday evening, the Blues boss was asked about when supporters can expect to see the 19-year-old in action.
He replied (quotes via football.london): "Lavia no [not ready to start].
"He needs a few weeks to be ready to be involved with the team. He is working to try and catch his team-mates.
"For Romeo we need to wait a few weeks, but Moises [Caicedo] is ready."
The news over Lavia may come as a concern to Blues fans, given the significant fee spent on bringing him to Stamford Bridge.
But the Belgian did not feature heavily for Southampton throughout pre-season. Speaking in August prior to his side's fixture against Norwich, Saints boss Russell Martin explained (quotes via Southampton Daily Echo): "He's not had enough minutes in pre-season.
"I don't think I'd ask him to start a game after the minutes he has had and everything that is going on.
"In these situations, you think back to yourself as a 19-year-old. How would you cope with that? He's been great, some days much better than others, but there has been so much noise and he is a really top lad and really top player.
"Romeo is getting fitter and fitter, and trained really well."