Rumours of Giovani Lo Celso’s probable exit have been well documented, but there is increasing motivation for Ange to keep the Argentine at Tottenham.
Ange hasn’t ruled out the possibility of keeping Lo Celso, whose 45-minute performance against West Ham in the opening pre-season match inspired increased confidence. He scored a goal and was arguably Spurs’ best player, providing a constant threat in the No. 8 role.
So while there’s still a distinct possibility of him leaving for pastures anew, here are three reasons Tottenham shouldn’t sell the diminutive 27-year-old.
3. The proceeds from Lo Celso’s sale won’t be enough to cover his potential upside
Lo Celso has a huge potential upside.
He showed glimpses of his potential before going on loan to Villarreal, mostly as part of Jose Mourinho’s midfield. Unfortunately, Lo Celso was too inconsistent, often playing out of his preferred advanced midfield position.
Cue Ange’s 4-3-3, a perfect fit for Lo Celso to slide into the No. 8 role, possibly as a first-choice option beside James Maddison. Tanguy Ndombele might have something to say about that, but the Frenchman has a massive uphill battle to become one of Ange’s chosen 11.
Spurs are also monitoring other attacking midfielders in the transfer market but probably won’t pull the trigger for another No. 8 until Pierre Hojbjerg departs, which might not happen.
Tottenham wants €25 million for Lo Celso, whose profile has procured interest from Napoli, Barcelona, Real Betis, and Aston Villa. No team has come close to matching Tottenham’s valuation, with Napoli offering a reported €15 million.
Selling Lo Celso, who Spurs purchased for €60 million in 2019, for €15 million is not an option. Lo Celso could find his groove under Ange’s attacking revolution. If potential suitors aren’t willing to offer more, keeping Lo Celso is the smart play.
2. Lo Celso finally gets to play his preferred position under Ange
To maximize his upside, Lo Celso needs to play a certain way in a specific position.
Ange’s No. 8 is tailor-suited for Lo Celso, who enjoys the attacking freedom that the role facilitates. He can drop between the opposition’s attack and midfield, finding space to use his creative nous effectively.
That was on full display against West Ham in the 3-2 defeat. While the tiny sample size in a pre-season friendly doesn’t offer enough evidence to pop the champagne, it did offer a glimpse of what he’s capable of.
Lo Celso never really got a fair shake in his preferred role under Mourinho, who had Lo Celso tracking back and getting dirty defensively far too often. Don’t get me wrong; Lo Celso is adaptable and versatile enough to play competently out of position.
But playing adequately in a defensive role is not why Spurs purchased him. He needs to have the shackles severed to show the well-rounded skill set most know he possesses.
1. Lo Celso is an Ange-type character
Not only does Lo Celso possess a silky smooth skill set, but he also embodies the type of character Ange looks for. He consistently commits a full-blooded effort and never mails it in. He works tirelessly and puts his body on the line for the collective.
That type of desire to win and willingness to go to war for teammates isn’t an easy character trait to come by. Ange will appreciate what Lo Celso has to offer, not only as an offensive threat but also for all of his intangibles, both on and off the pitch.