Over the past couple of weeks or so, Real Betis seem to have been playing a transfer game with Giovani Lo Celso.
On May 25th, two local Seville sources independently reported Tottenham were willing to pay €60m for the player, but Real Betis were looking for closer to his €100m release clause.
It looked like a line straight from Betis, partly because both reports also claimed Manchester United interest in Junior Firpo.
The second claim has disappeared, but the Lo Celso story continues.
On June 10th, ABC Sevilla reported Tottenham’s offer actually stood at €40m, which sounded a lot more like the unreasonably low amount Spurs would initially go in with.
It wasn’t even a straight €40m, with €5m of that appearing to be bonus payments. ABC described it as ‘totally insufficient’.
At the time we suggested Betis and Spurs could be involved in a transfer game, with the first leak designed to talk a price up, then Tottenham’s offer making it clear they’ll drag it down lower.
Interestingly, a couple of days ago, Atletico Madrid were pulled in, said to have made an offer of around €55m, again coming from the Sevilla media.
And today, Betis’ local sport newspaper, Estadio Deportivo, has a rambling article titled: ‘Meeting with United for Lo Celso’.
Now, that would make you believe Manchester United have had a meeting with Betis, but that isn’t made clear in the article. It’s stated the option of the Red Devils signing the player for €75m was discussed over lunch, yet the sentences before that make it sound like a Betis lunch, although it was in London.
It’s very confusing, but the message someone wants to push out is that United, who are ‘very interested’, could swoop in and pay the €75m Betis want.
Who would want that message out there? Betis, you got it in one.
So, perhaps United are being used to pressure Tottenham in the same way the London club may be being used in the Bruno Fernandes saga. Alternatively both clubs, and Atletico, could be interested in both players. Lastly, it could be all be the product of someone’s imagination.
It’s only June 14th, and the transfer window has already given Sport Witness a prolonged headache.