Tottenham Hotspur are just four days away from playing for the UEFA Champions League title against Liverpool. While preparations are ongoing for arguably the biggest match in club history, Daniel Levy is busy behind the scenes trying to bolster the squad for the 2019-2020 campaign. According to the BBC, it appears he’s not only locked onto targets that both he and Mauricio Pochettino want, but bids are being made.
According to Matt Davis of BBC Sport, Spurs have made their first formal offer to Real Betis for the purchase of star midfielder Giovani Lo Celso. The opening bid is said to be around £53m and should kick off negotiations.
Tottenham have made a bid of about 60m euros (£53m) for Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.
But Lo Celso has a 100m euro (£88m) release clause and it is understood Betis want to sell him for a fee closer to that amount.
That’s a straightforward as it gets with a report: Spurs have made the bid and Real Betis want more. If you do not recall, Lo Celso joined Betis last year via a loan deal with PSG. The deal included an option to purchase the player outright for a fee of €25m. Betis did this solely to cash in on the player, knowing they cannot afford the wage demands the player will have as well as the 23-year-old wanting Champions League football. While Betis want to make the push for European competition, the club needs to make money and Lo Celso essentially fell into their laps.
This is a player to truly be excited about. Nick Dorrington over at Statsbomb has a great breakdown of the midfielder and how PSG are going to rue the day they let this one get away. If you want some side-by-side comparisons, look no further than this radar compared with our own Dele Alli:
Giovani Lo Celso of Betis and Dele Alli 18-19 on the midfielder template.— StatsBomb (@StatsBomb) March 5, 2019
They play different roles for their teams, but Lo Celso looks like everything he was touted as before the move to PSG.
Lo Celso has a flexible skill set a bit in the mold of M Dembele or Rakitic. pic.twitter.com/sfuYVBKr8N
We’ve talked ad nauseum about the depth in midfield being a problem this season. While Moussa Sissoko has stepped up into the role and been a rock there, he is now 30 years old and Spurs need to bolster both the six and the eight, regardless of who Spurs sell this summer. This also wouldn’t necessarily remove us from the Tanguy Ndombele sweepstakes either, given that they player different roles. I still stand by my belief that if Spurs were to somehow hit the jackpot and get both Lo Celso and Ndombele, Christian Eriksen will have his bags packed for Madrid not long after.
Spurs are not the only ones interested in acquiring Lo Celso, of course. Manchester City and Liverpool have been rumored to be involved, though City is the one I’d be worried about the most. City may not go for Lo Celso, but could set their sights on Rodrigo from Atletico Madrid. The central midfielder moving to City could open the door for Atletico to purchase Lo Celso from Betis, especially since Antoine Griezmann looks headed for Barcelona. At that point, they’d be swimming in cash and itching to spend it.
It’s quite clear that Spurs had their targets set early and it’s the players that we’ve been hoping for since about January. Lo Celso would slot into the starting XI immediately and provide a much needed injection of talent. Don’t expect anything final until after Saturday. By that time, we should all be up to our eyeballs in rumors, whether they are real or the battiest of bat country.
EDIT (1:13PM ET): So this is something!
El Desmarque (via SportWitness) are reporting that Lo Celso’s new contract has a hell of a safety net for the Argentine. According to the report, if Real Betis reject Tottenham’s initial bid, then there is a requirement for Lo Celso to receive a significant wage hike as fallout. This is peculiar to say the least and, to my knowledge, the first time I’ve heard of such a provision in a contract or transfer negotiation. Take it with a grain of salt, but El Desmarque isn’t the worst source in the world and are usually good with Spanish football.
If this is true, this means that Levy is forcing Betis’ hand. They cannot afford to keep him, we all know this. While I want this deal done quickly and not see it dragged out to the point where we miss out on a gettable player that adds quality, having this knowledge and using it to your advantage is far from egregious. I think this is worth the crack, but if it doesn’t work and they reject it, just get the deal done in any way possible.