by Luke Regan
Last season, Tottenham, under the management of Andre Villas Boas, spent around £105m on various players from around the globe in something of a desperate attempt to replace Gareth Bale, their talismanic figure who had just departed to Real Madrid for a world record £85m.
Among the batch of players that was brought in, and perhaps the one who was expected to fill the void that Gareth Bale left both stylistically and statistically was Erik Lamela, who was signed for the hefty sum of £30m, from the Italian outfit Roma. In a statistical sense, Lamela would in theory replace the goals of Gareth Bale, having scored fifteen league goals during his last campaign at Roma. Furthermore, both Bale and Lamela’s interpretation of the wide role on the wing is similar, they both enjoy dribbling powerfully at defenders, before cutting inside onto their favoured foot, and then slotting the ball past the keeper. So in theory, the signing of Lamela was a logical and prudent one, however, last season Lamela was clearly way off his best.
Lamela himself will blame his poor campaign last time out on the injuries that he suffered throughout, and perhaps he would be justified in doing so. After all, players who rely on explosive trickery and pace often have their games hindered more so by injury than say for example a passing midfield player, whose game isn’t so reliant on quick bursts of pace.
After failing to impress under the now much maligned ‘AVB’, Lamela found himself in the doldrums of the Tottenham squad, and upon the appointment of Tim Sherwood, who had been promoted from a role within the club, seemingly took the role that Emmanuel Adebayor has been playing as something of a laughing stock, a player who is seen and not heard, appearing very regularly, usually in somewhat menial Europa League ties.
However, it is clear that the Argentinean forward, who has turned out for his national team on six occasions is abundantly talented- just from viewing montages of him during his time at Roma on YouTube it is clear that he is an extremely classy and technically proficient player. The appointment of his fellow countryman Mauricio Pochetinno will surely aid his development and adjustment to the English game, with Pochetinno overseeing the development of many young players at Southampton. Furthermore, Pochetinno’s love of players who are creative and boast a great deal of flair is sure to stand Lamela in good stead, indeed, throughout pre season, Tottenham have often started with a trident of attacking players behind a striker which has often featured both the Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen and Lamela.
To conclude, Lamela, who is still, just twenty-two years old, should certainly not be thrown on the scrap heap and written off as many football fans were suggesting last season, but instead he should be nurtured, and given a platform to shine in order to produce the form that he showed for Roma, and then, maybe Tottenham will have something of a genuine replacement for Gareth Bale.