With six days left to go in the transfer window, Tottenham Hotspur’s remaining intentions are starting to become clear. Spurs apparently want to make at least two additional signings — one of them being Ryan Sessegnon from Fulham, and the other a long term replacement for Christian Eriksen. And of those Eriksen replacements, it has come down to either Real Betis’ Giovani Lo Celso, or Sporting’s Bruno Fernandes.
According to Dan Kilpatrick in the Evening Standard, Spurs’ interest in Fernandes is real, and that they are viewing him as an alternative to Lo Celso, but that the club will not sign both of them.
There are a couple of things to unpack here. First, if you’re speaking to your screen and saying “Bruno Fernandes is not the same kind of player as Giovani Lo Celso,” you’re right, but that doesn’t mean Spurs aren’t trying to make the best possible transfer they can. Fernandes is more of a pure attacking midfielder and creator, operating higher up the pitch and providing shot creation and long range shot statistics at a greater volume. Lo Celso, by contrast, is viewed as a slightly deeper central midfield player that offers greater flexibility by being able to play in the forward attacking band as required.
Spurs certainly need another central midfielder — it’s why they have been working so hard for months to secure the Lo Celso signing — but the club securing Fernandes would also suggest that they are looking at a potential future without Eriksen, as one could view Bruno as a more pure analogue to what Eriksen brings to Spurs.
And that brings up point two: Kilpatrick notes that it is starting to appear as though, whether he leaves the club this summer or not, Eriksen is looking less likely to agree to a new contract at Tottenham, despite Spurs offering him a very lucrative new contract (by Tottenham standards). The club wants to sort out a replacement for Eriksen in this window, so that player has time to bed in with the club.
A lot can happen in the last six days of the transfer window, a fact we should all acknowledge even as many of us are frustrated by the lack of movement. It certainly appears as though Lo Celso is still option 1, but Fernandes is emerging as option 1a. There’s still plenty of time for Daniel Levy to pull another rabbit out of his hat.