According to journalist Javi Miguel, Barcelona manager Xavi has identified Giovani Lo Celso as an alternative to Bernardo Silva, who may be out of reach for the La Liga champions.
Although not confirmed, Luis Rojo reported that Manchester City are looking for €80 million for their attacking midfielder, a sum which would all but rule Barca out of the running.
As we reported yesterday, there is talk of Manchester City offering Silva in a potential Frenkie de Jong swap deal, but it’s unlikely that Barca would entertain such an offer.
The Dutch midfielder has become untouchable in the Xavi midfield, and his importance will only intensify with the departure of club legend Sergio Busquets.
A good Bernardo Silva alternative
If Barca can’t pull off the Silva signing, reports indicate that Xavi has highlighted Giovani Lo Celso as a good alternative.
The Tottenham attacking midfielder has been on loan at Villareal and while he’s returned to London for pre-season training, it’s believed that Daniel Levy would be open to letting him leave.
While at Villareal Lo Celso has appeared in 51 competitive games, registering three goals and four assists.
Although Lo Celso may not be the marquee signing that Silva would be, he’s also significantly better than a lot of people give him credit for.
He can play right across the front line and is adept at sitting between the lines, receiving passes, turning, and keeping the ball flowing.
He’s an incredibly accurate passer completing 88.8% of his short passes, 84.9% of his medium passes and 78.3% of his long passes in La Liga last season.
If you compare his metrics against other midfielders, he stacks up very well.
According to football reference, he’s in the 98th percentile in shots, 99th percentile in expected assists per game and 98th percentile in shot creation actions.
If he were to join and maintain those numbers, you’d expect his assists to increase based on playing with a striker like Robert Lewandowski.
Giovani Lo Celso may not be a superstar, but there is a reason he constantly gets into the national team of Lionel Scaloni. His addition would also allow Xavi to rotate his players more, giving much-needed rest to the likes of Gavi.