Friday, April 8, 2016

Scouting Franco Cervi and Giovani Lo Celso

They are one of the most exciting teams playing in South American football right now and just missed out on Argentina's double last season: Rosario Central. In a team packed with young bright stars, two of them stood out so far. Their names are Franco Cervi and Giovani Lo Celso.

Let us take a look at what qualities make them the players they are, whether they can perform at the same level in Europe and what their ceiling projects to be. For this post, I got to work together with the Global Soccer Network GSN. Make sure you check them out at and follow them on Twitter @info_gsn.

Franco Cervi

Franco Cervi is a 21-year old left-footed offensive midfielder, who can fill all three positions behind the striker. In 2016, he was predominantly used as a central and left attacking midfielder.

Born in San Lorenzo, he joined Rosario Central at the young age of 6 and worked himself through all the youth teams of the club. In 2013, Hugo Galloni called him up to the reserve team for the first time and his good performances eventually led to his first team debut in the latter stages of 2014. In September 2015, Benfica made official that they bought the player for €4.1mil. He will join the Portuguese club in the upcoming summer.

Despite the fact that the youngster is coming across as a shy person off the pitch and his rather short body size (169cm) does the rest for that impression, he presents himself completely different on the field. His skillset is one of the best in all of Argentina's Primera División and keeps developing steadily. Due to his low centre of gravity, Cervi dribbles incredibly well, has outstanding technical abilities and can, as it often seems, get past any opposing player in one-on-one situtations as he pleases. 

The future Benfica player's statistics are not off the charts, but decent. While he does not commit as many risks as Lo Celso (see below), his passing success % is great at over 85. He ranks just outside the top 10 in the Primera División. The two players seem to simply work well together when combining their qualities in midfield, with Cervi playing the safer part.

Slowly but surely, the player packed on some muscles to his lean body and therefore became a lot more competitive in the physical South American football world. Nevertheless, his size remains an obvious weakness in aerial duels. But then again, when does his countryman Messi ever win them?

GSN's data knows: High potential and the chance to play in average top leagues. Right destination Portugal?

Giovani Lo Celso

Teammate Lo Celso is the younger one of the two at 19 years of age. Rosario Central sold Cervi last fall, because they knew they had a local boy who can take over for him. They might not have expected him to grow as fast as he did in 2016. Countless big clubs in Europe have shown interest in the player, Roma and PSG are only two of them. Central reportedly rejected a €7mil offer from Roma already.

While we will see him in Europe eventually, let us take a look at the player himself. Giovani Lo Celso is left-footed, an offensive midfielder, preferably in the central "10" role. At 177cm, he is taller than his midfield colleague, but aerial battles are not his calling card either. What he does well is help out defensively if needed, which makes him so valuable to the team. He does not shy away from physical contact whatsoever.

Lo Celso is incredibly gifted when it comes to his technique. His exceptional passing game and magnificent ball control are another reason why he became essential to Central's attack very rapidly. In Argentina's league, he ranks #5 in key passes behind the likes of Belluschi, Tévez and Co. Lo Celso takes the same position for through balls. This partly risky, but very exciting approach of the game has seen him produce five assists already, ranking him at the top of that category. While not every pass reaches its destination (78.9%), he does do quite well considering his position and age.

Going along with those passing skills, great set pieces are just a bonus on top. One thing the player still lacks is quite surely his finishing, but he has got a lot of years to work on that. 

Where will Lo Celso land eventually? With a very high potential, his ceiling should be higher than Franco Cervi's. An impression that one can confirm at the moment, but he might still need time to grow as a player.


Each player has their unique qualities. While Lo Celso is a more adventurous type of player, Cervi has his biggest success with short and precise passes. In his development, Cervi is the further of the two, even if it is by a slight margin. His decent performances have earned him a contract at Benfica Lisbon, where he has a buyout clause as high as €60mil.

Additionally, it has to be mentioned that both midfielders benefit from an outstanding team over in Rosario. From the league's top scorer Marco Rubén to defensive midfielder Musto, they have the necessary help all around them, one of the reasons for their remarkable growth. 

For the fans, there remain a few more games to enjoy the two ripping apart defenses together in Argentina's league and in the Copa Libertadores. Because if there is one thing that needs to be said about watching them: They are just incredibly fun.

Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed this article, make sure to share it with your friends and fellow football fans. 


Post a Comment