According to Manchester Evening News, Manchester City are currently keeping tabs on Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso. The Argentine has impressed in the recently concluded 2018/19 La Liga campaign. And it is believed that City manager Pep Guardiola will personally evaluate his performance in this summer’s Copa America.
However, the report also claims that Manchester City could face stiff competition from Atletico Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs have already tabled a €60 million bid for the midfielder this summer – an offer that was rejected by the Spanish outfit.
What could Lo Celso bring to the table
A central midfielder by trade, Lo Celso is someone who likes to venture forward and thread key passes in the final third. But, he is also aware of defensive chores and often tracks back. He has delivered 0.8 key passes while averaging 1.6 tackles per game this past season. One of his key assets is his tenacity and work-rate as he not only wins back possession but also initiates counter-attacks.
The 23-year-old has exquisite control on the ball that allows him to nestle through defenders even under tight pressure. Also, he has a box of trickery up his sleeves and can easily evade the press using his nimble footwork. The midfielder has completed an impressive two dribbles per game, which is 11th highest in the league and third by any central midfielder.
Should Manchester City make a move for Lo Celso?
Making a move for Lo Celso might not be the most prudent decision from Manchester City. The Sky Blues already have a stacked midfield department, with players like Ilkay Gundogan, Bernardo Silva, Kevin de Bruyne and David Silva.
David Silva, though, has been linked with a move away from Etihad in recent weeks. But, even if the veteran midfielder departs the club this summer, the emergence of Bernardo Silva and the return to fitness of de Bruyne means that the Argentine will find it difficult to find proper game-time. Besides, Manchester City will also have to dig deep in their pockets to sign Lo Celso. This is because he had recently signed a long-term contract with Real Betis last month.
And as far as replacing Fernandinho is concerned, Lo Celso’s style of play is not exactly suited in the holding midfield role. The 23-year-old doesn’t have the positional awareness nor the defensive work rate to sit in front of the back-four. Hence, the Sky Blues should shift their interest to a more defensive minded midfielder.
Rodri, for one, could be an excellent choice for Guardiola as the Catalan mastermind looks to continue Manchester City’s dominance in English football next season.
Stat courtesy: Whoscored