Make no mistake about it. Christian Eriksen will be a massive loss for Tottenham.
Since the Dane's arrival to the Premier League in 2013, no player has created more chances. Alongside David Beckham, Eriksen is the only other player to have assisted at least ten goals in four consecutive seasons. The attacking midfielder is simply a master at providing for his teammates.
Additionally, Eriksen is dangerous from long-range, scoring more goals than any other Premier League player from outside the box since his debut. He is two-footed, having scored at least 20 Premier League goals with either foot, and he's versatile, able to play as a number ten, on either flank, or even deeper in midfield in certain stages of a game.
On top of his talents, the playmaker is a hard-worker, regularly clocking the highest running distances in the Spurs side. Overlooked also is his fitness record, an underrated attribute, with Eriksen playing at least 35 league games since Pochettino's arrival.
Unfortunately for the Lilywhites, their number 23 is running down his contract, seeking a move to Spain, and unlikely to renew. So, to avoid looking gormless when he leaves, Spurs have sorted out their replacement with the signing of Giovani Lo Celso.
Lo Celso is stylistically very different to Eriksen. A direct replacement would have been an obvious downgrade, so it's a smart move to replace his contributions by strengthening other areas. Whereas Eriksen possesses great vision and passing quality in the final third, for instance, Lo Celso is a more skilled dribbler, and tends to operate at his best when dropping deeper and getting on the half-turn.
Whereas Eriksen regularly plays two or three key passes per game, the Argentine - who has joined on loan with the option of a permanent move next summer in order to avoid PSG receiving a large sell-on fee - makes around one on average.
However, while Eriksen is not a particularly good dribbler, averaging less than one per game, Lo Celso makes around 1.5, helping his team progress the ball from the middle of the park to the final third. Furthermore, Lo Celso tackles opponents twice as often, a significant reason why he's able to flourish in central areas, despite being offence minded.
Giovani Lo Celso for Real Betis in LaLiga in 2018-19:— Squawka Football (@Squawka) August 7, 2019
• Most fouls won (67)
• Most take-ons completed (63)
• Most goals (9)
An exciting package. pic.twitter.com/ARfNqWleJu
This allows for Pochettino's new diamond formation - which he deployed often in pre-season - to work better, with Harry Winks dictating from deep, flanked by new boys Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele, who will look to feed the ball into Dele Alli or Erik Lamela between the lines, with Harry Kane supported by Son Heung-min or Lucas Moura.
Lo Celso's arrival could further get the best out of Dele, who, despite a great on-pitch partnership with Eriksen who regularly spotted this teammate bursting into the box, had to fill in deeper in midfield last season.
Playing further forward is where Dele flourishes, where he can concentrate on scoring and assisting goals - he scored 18 in the league playing off Kane in the 2016/17 season, when Spurs finished second with 86 points.
Against weaker opposition, or when chasing a victory, Pochettino can now also play Ndombele and Lo Celso holding together, with Moura, Dele, Son and Kane causing havoc on the pitch all at once.
With the former PSG midfielder capable of making the difference at both ends - Lo Celso scored nine league goals last season, the most for Real Betis - Pochettino's compatriot looks set to be a perfect Eriksen replacement.
By not directly replacing Eriksen's skillset and adding something new to for a Spurs side which has remained largely unchanged for a few years, Lo Celso is an exciting arrival to the Premier League - and a very smart one.
Source : 90min