Barcelona boss Xavi believes an underused Tottenham star is underrated in European football, and transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has claimed Spurs would be “completely crazy” to accept Barca’s request.
The summer signing of James Maddison provided Tottenham with a much-needed influx of creativity in midfield. However, the playmaker picked up an ankle injury in the disastrous 4-1 defeat to Chelsea on November 6 and per the player, could be sidelined until February.
Giovani Lo Celso has filled the creative void in the recent clashes with Aston Villa and Manchester City and scored in each of his only two league starts this season.
Lo Celso was a target for Barcelona over the summer, though the Spanish side’s loan approaches were blocked.
However, according to The Evening Standard, Barcelona and manager Xavi aren’t content to take no for an answer.
On the contrary, Barca’s interest in the 27-year-old has actually increased on the back of losing Gavi to a season-ending knee injury.
Barca’s well-documented financial woes mean only a loan is possible if they’re unable to sell players first. The Standard stated Tottenham have no intention of loaning the Argentine out next month.
Nonetheless, Barcelona will continue to probe and according to Fabrizio Romano, Lo Celso is extremely highly regarded by Xavi.
Speaking on streaming platform Kick, Romano ran the rule over Lo Celso’s chances of joining Barcelona next month. The trusted reporter also stressed Tottenham would be “completely crazy” to accept Barcelona’s preferred loan route given another pair of absences are looming.
Xavi desperate to coach Lo Celso
“In summer it was a possibility,” Romano said (as relayed by Football365). “He was one of the names discussed by Xavi and (Barcelona director) Deco in the meetings they had about the midfield position.
“They discussed this chance to bring in Giovani Lo Celso, because he is a player from what I’m told is really appreciated by Xavi.
“Xavi really considers Lo Celso an underrated midfielder with very good skills. He would like to train Gio Lo Celso one day.
“But Lo Celso for Tottenham is an important player. He’s doing very good, he’s scoring goals, he’s performing at a top level, he has always been super professional, super serious also in training.
“Tottenham are very happy with Lo Celso and when they had possibilities for loan deals in the summer transfer window, they always said no.”
Further absences make Tottenham exit “completely crazy” – Romano
Tottenham’s thin squad will soon be stretched even further when Son Heung-min, Yves Bissouma and Pape Sarr depart on international duty.
Son will go for glory with South Korea at the Asian Cup. Bissouma and Sarr will play for Mali and Senegal respectively at the Africa Cup of Nations. Both tournaments run for roughly a month and get underway in mid-January.
As such, Romano clarified Lo Celso is likely to be kept in north London given Tottenham’s needs and Barca’s inability to fund a permanent move.
“Now they have [Rodrigo] Bentancur injured, James Maddison still injured, many players not available in that position in January because Pape Sarr and Bissouma will go to the AFCON,” Romano added.
“I think it would be completely crazy of Tottenham to accept a loan proposal for Lo Celso and I don’t see Barca going there and investing money for a permanent transfer of Gio Lo Celso.
“The appreciation is there. The appreciation of Xavi is there. But I don’t think this is a realistic deal for the January window.”