Christian Eriksen is preparing to leave Tottenham this month, but Jose Mourinho believes Giovani Lo Celso can help replace his attacking verve.
It’s fair to say that none of Tottenham’s summer signings have really hit their stride yet. Fortunately for Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff, there are concrete signs that Giovani Lo Celso is ready to make a big impact at Spurs.
The Argentine midfielder’s development will be particularly important if, as expected, Christian Eriksen leaves the Premier League club this month. Lo Celso isn’t a perfect like-for-like replacement for the classy Dane, but he can replace some of what Eriksen gave Tottenham’s midfield.
As quoted by Football London, Mourinho says that he can “feel that he (Lo Celso) is coming.” That’s a clear sign that he’s set to receive more playing time for Spurs in the very near future. Tottenham supporters can expect to see him occupy a place in the club’s starting XI against Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
In fairness to Lo Celso, his progress hasn’t been helped by the managerial change at Spurs. He certainly enjoyed a comfort level playing for his countryman, Mauricio Pochettino. His dismissal likely caused a great deal of internal consternation for the young, but talented midfielder.
It’s rather ironic that he seems to be poised to really breakout under Mourinho. The Portuguese gaffer is widely criticized for his lack of willingness to break young players into the senior squad. The early returns at his Tottenham raid seem to tell a different story. His decision to start 20-year-old defender Japhet Tanganga against Liverpool last weekend sent a clear message to his squad that he’s looking for talented players of any age.
Lo Celso definitely fits that bill. At his best, he can provide the Spurs midfield with a player who is willing to take on defenders with the ball at his feet. He may never become the wide-ranging passer that Eriksen is at his best, but he may also be a better dribbler and finisher from the attacking midfield. In the absence of Harry Kane, Mourinho’s squad is short on both qualities.
It may take Lo Celso several more months to really settle in at Tottenham, but his progress is an encouraging sign for a club that needs an infusion of good feelings. Better things appear to be on the horizon for the former Betis midfielder.