In 2013, Spurs sold Gareth Bale in a deal that saw him become the world’s most expensive player at the time. 89 million – the deal was sealed for and Spurs sent a lot of that money in bringing in players such as Nacer Chadli, Erik Lamela, Ettiene Capoue, Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Christian Eriksen. Of those, only Lamela and Eriksen remain at the club and that’s quite a telling fact.
Spurs spent their money loosely and brought in players from left, right and center without doing the right kind of research. Of all the signings, Eriksen was the only one to hit the ground running immediately. Lamela, signed from Roma, took time to get going in the Premier League. The physical nature of the league specially did not endear to the Argentine, who was rather used to playing in leagues that involve lesser physicality.
All that changed when his compatriot Mauricio Pochettino took over the reins at Tottenham. The arrival of someone who could truly understand him, enabled Lamela to get to the next level and he hasn’t looked back ever since. He truly stepped up the mark in Pochettino’s second season at the club, scoring 5 goals in the league and 6 in Europe. Lamela has established himself as an important part of the Spurs side and has made an enterprising start to this season as well.
He is currently out with a hip injury that he sustained in November, while Spurs encountered Bayer Leverkusen in a Champions League group stage game. Tottenham must do everything in their hands to get their Argentine back to full fitness as without them, they have looked a far lesser cohesive unit. It was Lamela’s direct running and tenacity that brought something else to Tottenham’s play. They spent around 10 matchdays of this season unbeaten and the beginning they actually looked invincible.
But the absence of Harry Kane and now Erik Lamela, has taken a real toll on their side and their fortunes. With Lamela being out, the chance could be given to fresh signing Moussa Sissoko to impress, but the Frenchman has done little so far to justify his price tag of 30 million pounds. A lot was expected of the summer signing, but he is instead showcasing the kind of form that didn’t help Newcastle one bit last season as they failed to avoid relegation to the second tier of English football.
So it is important that Tottenham have Lamela available, as he is a much better option than Sissoko for sure. For all his physical prowess and running, Sissoko is not quite Lamela and the Argentine truly has some spectacular qualities that set him apart from the other options Mauiricio Pochettino has at his disposal.
Lamela in that sense, is indispensable to Pochettino and his squad. Heung-Min Son started off the season in spectacular fashion, but his form too has tampered off a wee bit. Until the recent 5-0 win over Swansea, Tottenham were suffering deeply in an attacking sense and it was nice to see them score so many goals. But not every opposition defence will be like that of the bottom club in the league, Swansea.
Lamela’s return therefore becomes ever so important and Pochettino must instruct his medical staff to do all they can to revive his Argentine wizard. Tottenham have a long season ahead of them and it could get longer if they advance to the knock out stages of the Europa League now. Having taken Tottenham to the Europa League twice, he knows the rigors of being involved in such a competition, where the schedule is so jam-packed. As it is, the Premier League itself drains out all the players at the weekend.
At 24, Lamela should be reaching the peak of his powers in a couple od years. His performances this season have shown what he is capable of, but it is only a matter of time before we get to see such supreme performances from the Argentine. He should nevertheless be aiming to have a great season on his return to fitness, which Tottenham hope is soon.