There have been many success stories from Rosario Central’s surprising title challenge but besides Marco Ruben’s unbelievable goal scoring record and 21-year-old Franco Cervi completing a transfer to Benfica, another youth product has been catching the eye of european scouts. Reports in Argentina claim that scouts from Atlético Madrid, Manchester City and Inter Milan will be in the stands when Central visit Banfield on Sunday afternoon and the player in the crosshairs is midfielder, Giovani Lo Celso.
Argentine newspaper, Clarín reports that despite only playing twelve times for the Central first team, Lo Celso is being closely watched by several European clubs and Diego Simeone’s Atlético Madrid are said to be front runners after completing deals for Ángel Correa and Matías Kranevitter in recent times. A fee of €9 million is being touted for the 19-year-old, who has impressed in his attacking midfield role since making his debut against Vélez Sarsfield in July.
Lo Celso arrived at Central in 2010 and has risen up through the youth ranks to establish himself in recent weeks as a key member of Eduardo Coudet’s title-challenging side. A midfielder of superb technique, Lo Celso exhibits a good first touch and an eye for a pass, ideal for his position in central midfield behind centre-forward Marco Ruben. Already in his twelve first team appearaces, the youngster has notched up three assists, including a fine scooped pass for Ruben to volley a crucial late equaliser.
Rosario Central president, Raúl Broglia is aware of the interest in Lo Celso but told reporters: “For now, there is nothing. No one has contacted us.”
However, Broglia admitted, “Of course in football, there are figures that cannot be rejected but it has to be a very tempting offer to sit down and negotiate. Our intention is that Lo Celso continues playing at Central for some time.”
Central have already sold Franco Cervi to Benfica in a deal which will see the attacker move to Portugal at the end of the current European season for $5.3million. With this in mind, Broglia is loathed to lose another of his young talents: “We sold Cervi knowing that we had Lo Celso behind. Now (in the event that Lo Celso was sold) we don’t have anyone to take that position and that is why we are in no hurry.”
Central, like all Argentine clubs are at the mercy of the European market, and Broglia knows that if a good offer comes in for Lo Celso they cannot reject it. Rumours of an informal $8 million offer from Manchester City (more than the amount Cervi was sold for) have already been mentioned and if Atlético Madrid are serious then this is only likely to rise.