Tottenham are set to make their second major signing of the summer, as Giovani Lo Celso closes in on a move to North London. The Telegraph reported earlier today that the club were set to make a renewed approach for the Real Betis playmaker. Meanwhile, Goal report that a deal has been agreed between the two clubs for a fee of €60 million. The Argentine has been a target for the club throughout the summer and they are finally set to sign him.
Following the departure of Mousa Dembele last season, the central midfield areas needed to be strengthened this summer. Daniel Levy has managed to do that. Tanguy Ndombele joined earlier this summer and Lo Celso will add more variety to the squad. These are two exciting players with big potential. Mauricio Pochettino has shown that he is one of the best coaches at developing talent and he will be looking forward to working with the new signings.
Lo Celso adds a different profile of player to the squad, with dribbling being one of his best and most obvious skills. Last season, he completed 63 dribbles with an average of roughly two per game in La Liga. He added dynamism to the Betis midfield and was excellent in transition, carrying the ball in central areas. The 23-year-old’s ability to beat a man and operate effectively in tight spaces shows his South American heritage.
This is an area that Tottenham have clearly identified for improvement. Both Ndombele and Lo Celso are capable of carrying the ball to set up counter attacks. Although the two players share that skill, they provide very different profiles to the squad. Pochettino now has a wealth of options available to him in the midfield and that bodes positively for the coming season.
In addition to his ball-carrying, Lo Celso has an eye for goal as he scored 14 times across La Liga and the Europa League last season, averaging just over two shots per game.
Although Lo Celso operates best with the ball at his feet, he is far from a passenger in possession. The Argentine is willing to press the opposition high up the pitch and his average of 2.1 ball recoveries per game last season underlines that.
With regards to a role, Lo Celso is likely to be best suited as a number eight. This will allow him to drop deeper to pick up possession and drive forward to launch attacks. Although he is equally as effective as a number ten or as an inside forward. Pochettino now has tactical variation available to him, which will be a huge benefit, especially in the big matches.
His pending arrival and continued links to the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Paulo Dybala and Bruno Fernandes will increase doubts regarding Christian Eriksen’s future. Although Manchester United were interested, it appears he is only considering a move to Spain. At the time of writing, that isn’t forthcoming.
If the Danish international remains at Tottenham, the club may have the most versatile and exciting midfield in the Premier League. That is a big if considering his desire to leave.
However, Tottenham can put those worries to one side in order to enjoy the signing of Lo Celso. It has taken some time to come to fruition, but it is an excellent capture by the club and shows a renewed commitment to signing young players with big potential.