Tottenham manager, Jose Mourinho has insisted he would not swap Giovani Lo Celso for Manchester United midfielder, Bruno Fernandes or any other midfield player.
Fernandes revealed last year he had agreed to join Spurs but the north London club were unwilling to match Sporting CP’s valuation and instead turned to Lo Celso.
The Portugal international went on to join Tottenham’s Premier League rivals United in January and has proved good value for the reported £67million (€80m) spent to sign him.
He has been directly involved in eight goals in eight league outings, while Lo Celso – whose loan switch from Real Betis was made permanent in January – has yet to register a goal or assist.
Mourinho says he is not bothered Spurs missed out on Fernandes’ signature during Mauricio Pochettino’s time in charge, however, as he rates Lo Celso just as highly.
“I don’t know anything about [an agreement], but if that is true, and if Giovani Lo Celso was the player that came to Spurs instead, then I would say I wouldn’t change Giovani Lo Celso for any player,” he told Sky Sports.
“[I wouldn’t swap Lo Celso] for any player. It’s not just for Bruno, but for any player.”
Lo Celso struggled for minutes when Mourinho succeeded Pochettino in November but has since started 11 of Tottenham’s last 15 matches in all competitions.
Mourinho has been pleased with the Argentina international’s positive attitude and believes there is still plenty more to come from the £27m (€30m) signing.
“When I arrived I went in other directions and he did exactly what I love a player to do: ‘I’m going to show you’,” Mourinho said.
“[There was] no spoiled kid reactions, no crying, no moaning, no agents and family throwing messages to the press and to the social media.
“It was just between him and me: I’m going to show you’, and he showed me step-by-step.
“The way he was working every day, the way he was coming to matches, the way he was changing matches.”
Mourinho added: “I remember the match against Liverpool: he was on the bench, he came on for the last half an hour and he changed the game.
“The only thing that didn’t happen was us changing the result because we were so unlucky, but he changed the game.
“When he had his first start: ‘Goodbye, I give you no chance and this place is mine’. In this moment, what people can see from him is an injured player playing, or a player that during the week is not working like the others.
“He’s working with lots of different conditions to try to play and to try to resist until the end of the season so what you see from Gio now is not the end product – he’s a fantastic player for us.”