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Barcelona 'to target Giovani Lo Celso as Gavi replacement'

Barcelona 'to target Lo Celso as Gavi replacement'
© Reuters
Barcelona will reportedly attempt to negotiate a deal for Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Giovani Lo Celso as they bid to replace the injured Gavi.

Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Giovani Lo Celso has reportedly emerged as a potential transfer target for Barcelona.

Lo Celso is spending the first half of 2023-24 back in North London after a relatively productive 18-month loan spell with Villarreal.

The Argentina international made 51 appearances for the Yellow Submarine, contributing three goals and four assists, but he has returned to playing a bit-part role for Spurs.

Just 85 minutes have been accumulated in all competitions, with three substitute outings coming in the Premier League as well as a start against Fulham in the EFL Cup.

Given the injuries that have recently occurred at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Lo Celso may soon find himself called upon by Ange Postecoglou on a more regular basis.

Barcelona coach Xavi before the match on October 4, 2023© Reuters

However, with just over 19 months remaining on his contract and there being no prospect of a renewal, the 27-year-old remains available if a suitable deal can be negotiated.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Spurs and Lo Celso can soon expect to receive interest from Barcelona.

On Sunday night, key midfielder Gavi suffered a serious knee injury while representing Spain and he has since been ruled out for the rest of the season.

With Barcelona not possessing the funds to spend big on a replacement, Xavi and club officials will be left to assess their options in the low-cost and loan market.

Spain's Gavi reacts after sustaining an injury on November 19, 2023© Reuters

Securing a direct replacement for a player of Gavi's qualities will be difficult, as the 19-year-old has started 13 games and made two substitute outings in La Liga and the Champions League this season.

More often than not, he has been used in a central position, sometimes the most advanced of a midfield three, and it is an area of the pitch that Lo Celso has been deployed in throughout his career.

Lo Celso has also represented Real Betis during his career, with the likelihood being that he would be interested in a return to Spain if Barcelona make a move.

That said, Spurs may have to be open to a straight loan deal with Barcelona unlikely to commit to paying a substantial fee with their La Liga salary cap being reduced for 2024-25.

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Spain's Gavi reacts after sustaining an injury on November 19, 2023
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