Antonio Conte must consider offloading one of Tottenham Hotspur’s struggling stars this January as he looks to change their fortunes in north London…
The winter transfer window will be the first true sign of what the ‘Conte era’ could look like at Spurs as he’ll be able to make some additions of his own and perhaps shift on those that he does not want at the club.
Currently, his 3-4-3 system only accommodates a certain number of players, so some may find themselves frozen out as an unfortunate consequence of the Italian’s tactics.
Furthermore, the north London outfit have to be somewhat realistic, meaning they may well have to sell before they buy, at least if the 52-year-old and sporting director Fabio Paratici are looking at multiple additions.
Someone who could fit the bill as a potential money-spinner is Giovani Lo Celso, who has failed to set the ground alight in over two years at the club.
Indeed, the Argentina international cost a joint-club-record £55m in August 2019, arriving from LaLiga outfit Real Betis and with Christian Eriksen’s contract situation rumbling on in the background, there was huge hope that he would be the natural heir to his playmaking throne.
But that has not been the case, despite glimpses of promise.
Across 79 appearances for Spurs, the £25m-rated attacking midfielder has only provided eight goals and five assists, averaging a direct goal contribution once every 338.5 minutes – or once every six games, as per Transfermarkt.
When your supposed creative influence isn’t delivering in a shorter space of time than every six games, especially when leading the squad for key passes per 90 (2.1) this term, then it’s a problem and it suggests that the player isn’t performing to a good enough standard.
For comparison, Eriksen managed a goal or assist every 151.6 minutes across six-and-a-half years in N17.
The 25-year-0ld has been a passenger at times, coasting through matches without any sort of involvement, and elements of his game have been woefully poor, such as at set-pieces. It’s been so disappointing that even a social media account highlighting his mistakes has emerged in recent months.
When you consider the amount chairman Daniel Levy paid for him over two years ago and his reported £100k-per-week wages, then the Argentine has cost the club around £850k per appearance, around £5.2m per contribution, and around £8.3m per goal.
It’s hard to argue against him being one of the biggest flops of recent times.
For instance, Dele Alli often cops a lot of flak and is even thought to be one player that is available for transfer in January, per The Athletic, but he should not be sold over someone like Lo Celso, based on the above evidence.
Even more so as Conte has publicly revealed his admiration for the Englishman, who was frozen out by both Jose Mourinho and Nuno Santo, whilst another former manager, Tim Sherwood, has backed Alli to become the main no.10 under the Italian.
At just 25, Lo Celso could offer some sort of value if there are any interested parties this January and as such, he must be ruthlessly axed by Conte.