Everton have been drawn into a mammoth transfer battle, as The Sun have claimed that we are tracking Real Betis wonder Giovani Lo Celso.
The Argentine has been in phenomenal form for the La Liga outfit this term, having only moved to the Benito Villamarin Stadium on loan from Paris Saint-Germain last summer.
His 16 goals and five assists across all competitions, however, saw the Green and White trigger a €25million (£21.3m) option-to-buy for their current top ‘scorer last month, and tied the 23-year-old down to a four-year contract.
Despite that, The Sun have claimed that Betis are willing to cash in on Lo Celso this summer, amid speculated interest from Tottenham Hotspur, after Chairman Daniel Levy promised Mauricio Pochettino that funds will be on offer for the manager to replace Mousa Dembele after his January exit.
Spurs are not the only side understood to be interested in what the 12-cap international is capable of, either, as El Confidencial reported in February that the Technical Secretaries of FC Barcelona and Real Madrid were negotiating the possibilities of a transfer for someone dubbed ‘the revelation of the season’.
Neither The Sun nor El Confidencial have reported a specific price Betis may be after for Lo Celso, but The Sun note that they would likely seek double what they have paid PSG – TransferMarkt value the central midfielder at £36million.
El Confidencial, meanwhile, have speculated that Barca may offer Quique Setien’s side Juan Miranda as part of any deal for Lo Celso. Betis Sporting Director Serra Ferrer also recently demanded that Madrid offer Theo Hernandez and Achraf Hakimi on top of €30million (£25.6m) for the transfer of left-back Junior Firpo.
What makes Lo Celso such a sought after player, despite his struggles at PSG, is that he is able to play in behind the striker or in central midfield with a freedom to unlock sturdy defences.
He also adapted quickly to the possession-based system Setien bestows on his players, and has brought a high-level technical standard to the Benito Villamarin Stadium that allows the Rosario-born star to help play progress into the attacking third.
Lo Celso can also provide a direct goal threat whenever he nears the opponent’s box, and has often been tasked with hurting opponents who look to sit in deep and congest the areas where he is most clinical.
These aspects would suggest the Betis sensation would be an even better signing than Andre Gomes, who has been great in our engine room dictating the pace of play and helping to connect our defence and attack, but often lacks the final killer aspect to put the opponent to bed – as evident in his one goal, two assists all season.
Gomes would also likely come at a similar price to what The Sun believe Betis would demand for Lo Celso, with Barca keen to cash-in on the Portuguese who flopped at the Camp Nou in order to fund their own rebuilding – potentially paving the way for Lo Celso.