Barcelona eye Tottenham's Giovani Lo Celso as Gavi replacement

Barcelona eye Tottenham's Giovani Lo Celso as Gavi replacement

FC Barcelona's sports management and coaching staff have convened to address the need for a new player to fill the gap left by injured midfielder Gavi.

Gavi's serious knee injury that he picked up on Sunday has side-lined him until next season.

The internal consensus is that the current squad, including Fermin Lopez and Lamine Yamal from the reserve team, comprises only 18 outfield players, highlighting the squad's thin depth, especially with Gavi's absence.

The recent La Liga financial control regulations have presented Barcelona with an opportunity. The club can now sign a player whose cost does not exceed 80% of Gavi's remaining salary until the end of the season. Initially, a loan deal with a potential purchase option beyond July 2024 seemed the only viable option. However, yesterday evening, La Liga communicated to Barcelona that Vitor Roque could also be registered once the transfer window reopens on January 1, 2024, as reported by RAC 1.

Despite having a contract with Barcelona until 2031, the Athletico Paranaense forward could be registered if the club deem it necessary, adding an appendix to the contract effective from July 2024. Barcelona were waiting for the ‚¬40 million pending from the sale of 9.8% of shares in Bridgeburg Invest, the company managing Barça Studios, by December 31. Negotiations with Libero Football Finance AG, given an extended deadline in August, remained open last week. Still, reports suggest alternatives were already considered by the club.

While no immediate decisions are expected, internal discussions revolve around whether to sign a midfielder or Vitor Roque. Among many names under consideration, the frontrunner for a midfield role is Giovani Lo Celso, an Argentine international. As reported by Mundo Deportivo, Lo Celso was coach Xavi Hernandez's desired signing in the summer, but financial constraints prevented the move. Given Gavi's injury, Lo Celso remains a top candidate to fill the void in midfield.

At 27 years old, Lo Celso has seen limited playing time at Tottenham this season, featuring in only three Premier League matches. This, coupled with the potential absence of two midfielders due to the Africa Cup of Nations in January, could hasten his departure in the winter transfer window. Lo Celso's familiarity with La Liga, having played on loan at Real Betis and Villarreal, add to his appeal.

However, Barcelona are exercising caution, with 30 days to decide on utilizing the 80% salary option for Gavi's replacement. The club will assess their situation by year-end, considering potential injuries and evaluating whether existing midfield options can adequately cover Gavi's role.

The green light from La Liga to register Vitor Roque is reassuring, providing the club with flexibility and time to make informed decisions. The possibility of both Lo Celso and Vitor Roque arriving in January hinge on the reception of the ‚¬40 million from Barça Studios, a development eagerly awaited by the club.

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