Ange Postecoglou's Tottenham transfer allegations response and Giovani Lo Celso's big chance


Ange Postecoglou has made it perfectly clear that the transfer allegations surrounding Jermain Defoe's move from Tottenham to Portsmouth in 2008 are "not across my desk". This week the FA confirmed that they will look into the transfer following an investigation from The Times.

The outlet investigated the move for two years, claiming that allegations had been made of potentially serious breaches of agent rules. It is claimed that the former striker, Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy and Harry Redknapp, who was then Portsmouth boss, all dealt with an unlicensed agent during the negotiations.

The FA decided at the time that they would take no action against the north London club but the governing body has now revealed it will be looking into the case. That was put to Postecoglou ahead of Sunday's Premier League clash against Aston Villa, with the Spurs boss stating that his full focus is on this weekend's game.

"And? In 2008? I think I was maybe coaching Brisbane Roar mate, so fair to say I wasn’t around then," he said. "And really, if you think that’s coming across my desk… people are keeping a fair bit away from me at the moment because of what’s really important and that is we’ve got a big game on Sunday, with the issues we’ve got around the team tomorrow, that’s where my focus is."

When it was put to Postecoglou that he's asked the questions as he's representing the club at pre-match press conferences, he responded: "And I think I’ve answered it. It’s not across my desk mate. For me to give you an answer would mean me sitting down with whoever is doing the investigation, whoever has all the information here, you know how many hours?

"I don’t know if you’ve spent any hours doing that but I don’t have that time in my day to be assessing those kinds of issues. With those kinds of things, any of those issues, there are those responsible, maybe I’m the spokesman, but I’m the spokesman for the football club in terms of the football. I would hate it absolutely if you got a lawyer out here and he started talking about what sort of formation we should play at the weekend.

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"I’ll keep my mouth shut with those things, not for any other reason, but I respect the space that other people are in and that I’m in. if you’ve got real questions about that, there are probably better people to ask than me."

Following the conclusion of the third international break of the season, Tottenham return to the pitch with a challenging game against Aston Villa on the agenda. Lacking an attack-minded midfielder in their previous defeat at Wolves due to the absence of the influential James Maddison, Postecoglou needs to find an alternative to the England international as Spurs aim to return to winning ways.

Giovani Lo Celso, who had a strong international break after teeing up Nicolas Otamendi for Argentina's winner against Brazil in midweek, could be the player the head coach turns to due to the qualities he can offer in the final third. Injury has disrupted the ex-Real Betis man's season to date but Postecoglou has revealed that opportunities will be there for Lo Celso.

“I looked at Gio really well before I got here, both here at Tottenham and his spells at other clubs," said the 58-year-old. "You can see he has certain qualities. He’s had a disruptive season for us. He’s had a few injuries, he hasn’t really had a clean run at it. He’s one of a number of players that that has happened to.

“But you can see technically he’s a very creative player. He works hard for the team. He’ll get an opportunity over the next few weeks to hopefully come in and make an impact."

Asked if Lo Celso has been frustrated given his lack of minutes this term, Postecoglou said: “No, I haven’t had an issue with Gio at all. He had a really strong pre-season and then he got injured at Fulham which was his first start and that set him back for quite a while.

“He’s been working his way back to fitness. I haven’t had any issues with any of the players in terms of frustrations. All of them know that they’re in the same boat. They work hard at training, they’ll get their opportunity when it comes.

“When it comes, it’s up to them to put in performances and play at a level that continues to allow them to be part of it.”

He added: "If they're here they'll get an opportunity, that's all you can offer. I don't think his national team form is a direct correlation to here, just like anyone else's.

"Gio will get an opportunity, particularly over the next few weeks because we are down on numbers and have a fair few games between now and new year.

"We won't get anyone back of significance in that time apart from Romero so Gio and the other guys will get that opportunity."

Previously linked with a move to Barcelona in the summer, Lo Celso has been mentioned with a switch to the Spanish giants in January after Gavi was ruled out for the foreseeable future. A key period coming up for the player as he looks to take advantage of Maddison's injury, Postecoglou is certainly going to take a good look at his midfielder.

"From my perspective, this is the time when I am getting an opportunity to make all these assessments because if you lump it all into one and look at previous exposure here at the club that's not really relevant to me - it's what I see from now on," he explained.

"And how the players feel themselves about playing the football that I want and whether they see themselves fitting into that.

"Also with Gio, he has had a couple of disruptions. He had a good pre-season, the Fulham game was early in the year and I started him in that because I thought he had earned it, then he has a setback and has to work his way back. It hasn't happened by design but I am certainly going to get a good look at everyone."

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