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Fabrizio Romano mentions Villarreal as a possible suitor for Giovani Lo Celso

The Argentine midfielder could be headed back to La Liga.

Tottenham Hotspur Training Session Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

It’s basically obligatory that if Fab Romano mentions Villarreal in a transfer rumor we have some sort of reaction to it. He’s the best in the business.

OL is very close to getting a deal done with Gio Lo Celso, so don’t get your hopes up here but Fab did mention Villarreal as someone who has come calling late in the game on this one.

The holdup here seems to be with how much of Lo Celso’s salary OL will or won’t cover. Presumably, if Villarreal want to hijack this deal the way forward is to agree to pay that salary in full until the end of the loan in June. Lo Celso is on about 70k a week which isn’t huge money in the English Premier League but if we are paying someone that kind of salary there ought to be a lot of value added. The question is, would we get it?

In my personal opinion, the answer is no. Many of you probably remember Lo Celso’s time at Real Betis and no doubt he is a very good, very versatile player, but I just do not see him bringing the kind of extra value we would need for that kind of salary. If we are fully healthy, I don’t think he starts for us. He’s not better than Parejo or Capoue, and while he can fill other positions in wide areas realistically we would be talking about switching to a 433 in order to accomodate him, and I think we’ve been better and more direct in the 442 this season.

In terms of our second choice selections, he doesn’t have enough minutes on the left flank to show he’s a better option than Alberto Moreno (he’s a better footballer than Alberto, but probably not a better left sided wide player) and on the right I’d rather have either Yeremy or Samu. If we switch to a 433, one of Samu, Yeremy, or Dia probably has to sit if we are fully healthy, and I’m not entirely sure that’s a significant improvement over what we can run fully healthy now.

There’s a contrary line of thought to everything I’ve just said that would suggest that, given injury possibilities, Lo Celso could provide insurance that could help us challenge for top 4 the whole rest of the season with more consistency than we’ve shown so far. I see that line of thought and I can fully respect it. If the gamble worked and we made the Champions League again, it’d be financially worth it. But Lo Celso would make more in salary in half a year than many of our players make all year, and honestly that’s kind of a big risk from my perspective.

Thoughts? This is probably all academic because he’s probably going to OL, but it’s worth thinking about.