Tottenham Hotspur made the decision, for various financial reasons, to bring attacking midfielder Giovani Lo Celso in on a season-long loan this summer, with an obligation to purchase him for an additional £32m this coming June. However, details emerged a couple of months ago that stated Spurs can exercise an option to purchase him for £27m during the January transfer window, should they desire to.
Until now, it was an open question if Spurs manager Jose Mourinho even liked Lo Celso at all as he was reticent to pick him in lineups earlier in the season. Exercising the January purchase option made sense financially, but nobody was quite sure whether Spurs would do it at all, which then raised the specter that Tottenham might decide to let him go back to Betis at the end of the season (assuming Spurs didn’t qualify for Europe).
Lo Celso had a rough start to life in the Premier League, joining late after a protracted transfer saga and hindered by a hip injury that kept him out of action for about two months this fall. But he’s back now and has put in increasingly more outstanding performances over the past few matches. It’s enough that in his press conference after Tottenham’s 1-1 FA Cup draw against Southampton, Mourinho pretty much confirmed that Lo Celso will be purchased outright before the window closes.
“It’s not an obligation, it’s an option. I think the boy is earning the decision. He’s making an easy decision for the club to execute the option.
“Incredible evolution since I arrived. Barely played a game, I think he played against Red Star Belgrade, with me a little bit difficult to come in the first few weeks. But he understood what we wanted. Good learner, good kid and I think by himself he made the decision that the club is going to execute the option. That’s normal, he earned it.”
Good. Lo Celso has been Tottenham’s best player over the course of the last two matches, showing himself to be press resistant in midfield, and displaying an impressive dribbling and passing ability. He’s been featured in central midfield the past few matches and has shown exactly he was so highly thought of as a potential Mousa Dembele replacement this summer.
Mourinho saying they’re going to do it isn’t absolute confirmation — Daniel Levy still holds the purse strings — but it’d be foolish not to. Lo Celso is definitely good enough, and doing it now saves Spurs a little money they can use next summer. Spurs are about to have an influx of cash coming from the sale of Christian Eriksen, with a €20m deal to send him to Inter Milan. Assuming that Spurs already have a small amount of money to spend this January, it would be well worth spending some (or even most) of those funds to tie down Lo Celso to a permanent signing now. He’s earned it.