Manchester City and Barcelona have already sparred for the signing of Frenkie de Jong from Ajax, a battle won by the Catalan club, and both have been credited with an interest in PSG contract rebel Adrien Rabiot.
A third central midfield name is now being linked with both clubs, with Radio Sevilla reporting that Argentina international Giovani Lo Celso is being tracked by both City and Barcelona.
The 22-year-old is on loan at Betis from Paris Saint-Germain and his excellent performances have not gone unnoticed, with Guardiola said to be ‘attentive to the development’ of Lo Celso and ‘appreciative of his qualities’.
City or Barça both have frosty relations with Lo Celso’s parent club PSG, but that could become a non-issue with Betis almost certain to sign the player in the summer.
If Betis qualify for Europe – and they are in contention for a Europa League spot – then Lo Celso will definitively become their player in the summer for a €25 million fee.
If Betis don’t qualify for Europe, Betis can still sign Lo Celso for €25 million, but it will be an option rather than an obligation to purchase him.
And with the likes of Man City and Barcelona trailing the player, Betis will know his value has now risen beyond €25 million. If Betis do own Lo Celso come the summer time, he will have a €100 million release clause, putting the Andalusian club in a strong negotiating position.
Kun Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi know Lo Celso well, with the midfielder having been capped 10 times by Argentina since debuting against Russia in November 2017.
Lo Celso has made 12 La Liga starts for Betis this season, scoring 4 goals and assisting 2. In the UEFA Europa League, he has 3 goals and 1 assist in 4 starts and also found the net in one of his two Copa del Rey appearances.