Giovani Lo Celso has earned the right to become a Tottenham player on a permanent basis, according to Jose Mourinho.
The Argentine midfielder put in another man-of-the-match performance in today’s FA Cup fourth-round draw with Southampton.
He was instrumental in Son Heung-min’s opening goal, dribbing through four Saints players before Erik Lamela teed up the South Korean.
Spurs have an option to buy the 23-year-old during his year-long loan from Real Betis, which would cost £27m this month or £34m in the summer, reports the Daily Mail.
Speaking after the 1-1 draw at St Mary’s, Mourinho said that Lo Celso’s recent form has forced the club’s hand over a transfer.
Football London quotes the Portuguese as saying: “It’s not an obligation, it’s an option. I think the boy is earning the decision. He’s making an easy decision for the club to execute the option. Incredible evolution since I arrived. Barely played a game, I think he played against Red Star Belgrade, with me a little bit difficult to come in the first few weeks.
“But he understood what we wanted. Good learner, good kid and I think by himself he made the decision that the club is going to execute the option. That’s normal, he earned it.”
It was a slow start for Lo Celso at Spurs, hampered by injuries, but I have been so impressed with him in the last few matches.
He looks combative enough to play in a midfield two which could give us an exciting partnership when Tanguy Ndombele is fit. Or, in more Mourinho fashion, in a midfield three with a top DM behind them.