It’s not an easy thing to break into the Paris Saint-Germain midfield as an attack-minded 21-year-old. With a guaranteed front three of Edinson Cavani, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe balanced by the automatic midfield selections of Adrien Rabiot and Marco Verratti, there’s only one remaining spot outside of defense for the likes of Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler, Javier Pastore, Thiago Motta and Giovani Lo Celso (the 21-year-old referenced above) to battle for.
Because of the intensity of this competition, there’s a good chance you’ve never even heard of Lo Celso if you don’t closely follow PSG. The native of Rosario, Argentina (also Lionel Messi’s hometown) transferred to the French capital last July, but this is his first full season on the books at the club.
A product of Rosario Central, PSG paid nearly $12 million for his services back in July of 2016, but he’s been mainly limited to substitute appearances this season, coming off the bench in 12 Ligue 1 matches and all six Champions League group stage games.
You’ve probably unknowingly seen him provide the assist on Dani Alves’ wonder strike against Celtic.
However, that’s not to say his career has stalled at PSG. His continued development saw him named to Argentina’s squad for a pair of November friendlies against Russia and Nigeria. Lo Celso appeared in both matches for his first two international caps.
Last Wednesday, Lo Celso was handed a rare league start and went the full 90 minutes in PSG’s 3-1 victory over Caen. He provided an assist in an all-action display that included 115 touches, four key passes, five dribbles and five tackles.
Bordel Lo Celso pic.twitter.com/MYrkZPYoED— Anthony Woodman (@Anton75_) December 20, 2017
Giovani Lo Celso vs. CaenThe Argentine midfielder put on a formidable display. Young yet mature for his age; is he Argentina’s desperately needed controller? pic.twitter.com/yrZtIgUNJg
— EiF (@EiF_Highlights) December 21, 2017
Handed an opportunity by Unai Emery, Lo Celso performed admirably. With PSG fighting on four fronts (Ligue 1, Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Champions League), we’ll likely see a lot more of the Argentinian in 2018.
It’s entirely possible that the 21-year-old could play his way onto Argentina’s World Cup squad should he continue the form he showed against Caen. Though he’s a relative unknown now, 2018 could mark a major breakthrough year for the midfielder.