Why this season could be a make or break for Tottenham’s Erik Lamela
Erik Lamela was one of Tottenham’s stars of the pre-season that handed him a start in the club’s Premier League opener against Aston Villa.
The Argentinean, 27, was signed by Spurs to fill the void left by Gareth Bale but it’s been six years now and he has never shown enough consistency to live up to his £30 million price-tag when he signed from Roma. He has featured in 182 games for Tottenham, scoring 28 goals.
The nippy wide-man has too often been injured, and when he has been on the pitch, his end product has been frustrating. He hasn’t particularly established himself as an integral player in Mauricio Pochettino’s team and has been largely inconsistent.
If Erik Lamela can stay healthy for a full season, he may never have a better opportunity to cement his place in Pochettino’s starting XI. While the 27-year-old’s talent is rarely questioned, his inability to stay fit is a major concern. So, he’ll need to work hard over his fitness and try keeping himself away from injuries as long as he can.
The winger did well in the pre-season but there is now a scepticism around the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium over whether he will go on to prove himself over the competitive campaign.
Christian Eriksen looks likely to depart north London, but the club’s decision on whether or not to cash in on him this summer could have bigger repercussions in Pochettino’s squad. If his performance against Aston Villa is anything to go by, however, then Spurs simply must hold on to him for now.
Nevertheless, with the Dane’s future in doubt, Dele Alli out injured and new signing Giovani Lo Celso expected to take some time to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League, Lamela has a fantastic opportunity to stake his claim. Lamela has been at Spurs for six years now, and having turned 27, he is already into his prime.
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The Argentine is a tireless worker off the ball and gives a different dimension to Spurs attack when fully fit. Pochettino admires his countryman’s willingness to constantly press and try winning back possession for his team.
His tenacity, energy and hunger to win the ball back makes Lamela special for Pochettino.
It’s now or never for Lamela at Spurs this season. In truth, he has to make the 2019/20 campaign best for him in a Tottenham shirt. If he fails to prove his value to the club this time around, he could be on the chopping block next summer.