Giovani Lo Celso is currently playing on loan at Tottenham Hotspur, but according to his permanent team’s president, that loan is expected to turn into a full transfer next month.
Lo Celso was signed to Spurs this summer at the end of the window on loan, a deal that made sense for all parties after a protracted transfer saga, and also one that screwed PSG who had a sell-on clause of 20% hanging over the sale. That loan had a mandatory purchase clause that kicked in so long as Spurs qualified for any sort of European competition.
Earlier this month, we also reported on rumors that there’s a second clause in Lo Celso’s loan contract that stipulates that Spurs can choose to purchase Lo Celso outright for around £27m in January, significantly less than the £35.5m he would cost in the summer. That has led to speculation that, even though Lo Celso has barely featured in Spurs’ first team this season due to a combination of injury and Mauricio Pochettino’s sacking, Spurs would choose to purchase him next month outright.
That sentiment has now been backed up by the president of Real Betis, Angel Haro. Estadio Deportivo is reporting quotes from Haro, who says that he “expects” that Spurs will exercise the right to buy Lo Celso outright when the January transfer window opens. Here’s the relevant paragraph, run through the Google Translate machine (and slightly cleaned up by me):
The president of Betis was also asked about the possibility that the sale of Lo Celso to Tottenham could [provide additional transfer funds], to which he replied that they did not have “news regarding the purchase option,” although they understand that he will become a full “Spur.” “Yes they will exercise [the option] because they are not taxed as much as if they have to exercise it in June, when the purchase becomes mandatory.” Despite this, Haro left the door open: “We understand that [Lo Celso] will exercise it , but he will not be a player who we will be delighted [to have return].”
We’ve already discussed why this makes a lot of sense for Spurs to do next month. We can discuss whether Lo Celso is a good fit for Jose Mourinho’s side or not or even if he likes him — I think the circumstantial evidence is pretty strong that Lo Celso is primed to fill the backup #10 role occupied by Dele after Christian Eriksen leaves the club. But even if Mourinho doesn’t like him, it makes financial sense to buy him now, because if nothing else the odds are very good that Spurs can still flip him for a profit this coming summer.
I don’t know whether Tottenham will make any new signings in January. The jury’s still out on that one and it’s probably contingent on Tottenham offloading players like Eriksen and Wanyama to raise funds. But I do think that the permanent signing of Lo Celso is a no-brainer. It’s looking more likely that Spurs are going to qualify for some sort of European competition by the end of the season. Buy him now for £27m, or buy him this summer at £35m... I think it’s pretty clear what Daniel Levy will prefer.