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Why you should be excited about Giovani Lo Celso

Straight outta Rosario, Gio Lo Celso has naturally been gifted with twinkling feet and a wonderful footballing mind. Not being able to find himself in North London after a difficult two-and-a-half years however, Villarreal have added the Argentine to their roster in order to bolster their chances of obtaining European football next season.

Giovani Lo Celso came to LaLiga in 2018 as a 22 year-old looking to make an impact. On-loan from Paris Saint-Germain, the Argentine was in desperate need for some time on the green grass of the football pitch having only made 38 appearances in the French capital over 3 years, scoring 4 times. The Parisians had clearly spotted something in Giovani as he was snapped up and sent to Europe after only one season at his boyhood Rosario Cental in Argentina, but it took a sabbatical away in Spain for him to truly make a name for himself.

Real Betis were able to bring Lo Celso to the Benito Villamarín in 2018 on a loan deal that included an option to buy, which they would trigger barely 8 months later. Over the course of the year that Lo Celso spent in green and white, he managed to score 16 goals and provide 6 assists in 45 matches, providing the Betis faithful with plenty of reasons to fall in love with him.

Forget the statistics for a moment, Giovani was a menace for Betis. He had everything that you’d want in a midfielder, especially going forward: his 5’10 frame furnished a small centre of gravity, making him extremely tricky to dispossess, he had a wicked first-touch, garnishing his excellence in tight areas up and down the pitch, his vision coupled with his ability to pick out the most ludicrous of passes made for sublime viewing, there was an undoubtable eye for goal that he was in the process of perfecting and his tenacity and aggression made for a hard-working defender on top of all of this. He truly was a special talent.

This outrageous season in Andalusia attracted many clubs across Europe, but Tottenham Hotspur were able to land his signature in the summer of 2019. While initially on a loan-deal, Lo Celso earned a 5 year contract with the Premier League club in January 2020, despite having to deal with a heavily interrupted first season in England with a hip-injury gained on Argentinian international duty and later the COVID-19 pandemic. Showing glimpses of his talent every now and again in the English capital, many Tottenham fans have been drawn to the conclusion that suggests Lo Celso’s £27 million move was nothing short of a ‘disaster’. The Argentine was thought to have had a poor attitude while at Spurs after multiple injuries hampered his chances at the starting XI and his failure to replicate the form he was enjoying on the international stage with Argentina came under scrutiny in England.

Both parties were keen on Lo Celso’s departure in January 2022 albeit the player reportedly rejected the opportunity to join Ligue 1 outfit Lyon during the winter transfer window. However, this is where the Yellow Submarine came into play. Tanguy Ndombele was offloaded to Lyon instead in order to make room for the signing of Rodrigo Bentancur from Juventus, bestowing another obstacle to the starting lineup for Lo Celso. With Spurs still trying to force the Argentine out, Villarreal decided to make a late push for the midfielder at the expense of Dani Raba, making Lo Celso the club’s only winter window signing late on deadline day.

The reaction on social media has been astounding, with messages of excitement from fans pouring in from left, right and centre. Not only are the fans enraptured by the acquisition, but the player is too; Lo Celso outlined to Marca that he had made contact with the coach at the time of his signing and is eager to link up with his new teammates, “As soon as possible I want to put myself under his (Emery’s) orders and to meet my new teammates because they have spoken very highly of the group. We have high expectations in a league that I really like and a league I have great memories in.”

There are some doubters following his unsuccessful time in London, but at the end of the day, the Argentinian wanted this move and it’s clear that he wants to regain the form he was in before he left Spain. Youth is still somewhat on his side as he is only 25 years of age, meaning that Villarreal could have a star on their hands that can patrol the midfield for years to come if the next sixth months of Giovani Lo Celso action warrant a decision to follow through on that option to buy that Totthenham have included.

Trigueros has been in charge of the offensive area of the midfield, leaving Capoue, Parejo and Iborra to maintain the shape and defensive solidity that we’ve been accustomed to since Emery’s arrival. Unfortunately, none of these players are getting any younger so adding an extra name into the mix that provides depth, an youthful yet experienced set of legs and above all, mouth-watering quality should be a tantalising sight if you’re a Villarreal fan. He’s proven in LaLiga, he has a wand of a left foot, the ability to pick out any pass that he wants, unquestionable quality on the ball, electric work-rate, a love for the art of tackling and the ability to make a good mate according to Foyth and Rulli, what more do we want?

Lo Celso could be poetically primed to make his debut in yellow against his former club, Real Betis, as he returns from international duty with the important game against Los Verdiblancos sat upon the horizon. The Argentine certainly didn’t live up to the billing in the white of North London, but that shouldn’t allow you to forget the quality that this man put on show every week in Seville.