Although a deal is far from closed at the time of writing, Tottenham Hotspur’s interest in Real Betis star Giovani Lo Celso is well-known.
The north Londoners are believed to have made a bid in the region of £53m for the playmaker, whom they see as a direct replacement for wantaway Christian Eriksen, but Betis may try and hold out for nearer £70m.
Such is the way that the market is panning out, that Eriksen may well not get his desired move abroad, and in that eventuality, it will be interesting to see if the club still move forward with the purchase of the Argentinian.
They’d be silly not to for a couple of off field reasons firstly.
It’s clear to everyone that the Dane wants to leave the club, so even if a potential Real Madrid switch breaks down now, there is no doubt that Eriksen will be on the move at his earliest opportunity.
Therefore, Spurs are still going to require a player who will step straight into the role once Eriksen departs, and could do with the cover in the interim.
Secondly, there’s no guarantee that they’d be able to acquire him at the same price in January or this time next year, and with Daniel Levy as conscientious as they come over money, that has to be a consideration.
More importantly, it’s what Lo Celso would give Tottenham in midfield that should ensure they have a need for him.
At just 23 years of age, the Argentinian has already had experience in two of Europe’s top leagues, Ligue 1 and La Liga.
He has, apparently, expressed a preference to work with his countryman Mauricio Pochettino, indicating a willingness to integrate into yet another culture.
In the 46 occasions he turned out for Real Betis last season, he scored 16 goals and supplied numerous assists and was, for all intents and purposes, Betis’ most dangerous player going forward, constantly on the front foot.
Always willing to receive the ball, the Argentinian enjoys the responsibility of setting the tempo and rhythm, and his associative play with other forwards is first class.
Just look at the way in which he dovetails with Lionel Messi in the national team by way of example.
He’s been compared to a former Tottenham great Luka Modric, and there are similarities to their games.
Both are intelligent footballers who intend to attack at every given opportunity. Lo Celso is happiest in possession of the ball, and has that gift of always being able to find space, even in the most crowded of midfields.
He doesn’t need asking twice to get a shot away on goal, and his is a peach of a left foot. Importantly, he rarely overplays and will take the simple option if it’s available.
Though the Premier League is likely to be a step up in terms of the physicality he will have to endure, it won’t stop Lo Celso from carrying out his defensive duties.
On plenty of occasions last season he could be seen sat just in front of his back four, before bringing the ball out with aplomb and setting the verdiblancos on their way with another attack.
He has all of the attributes that Spurs require, and with Pochettino offering a thinly-veiled threat that things have to change when it comes to transfers, the need to hire a player of his quality is obvious.