The right choice – Why Tottenham are doing the sensible thing by holding onto their 28-year-old star

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Why Tottenham are right to turn down Erik Lamela exit in January

According to claims from reputed journalist Fabrizio Romano, Tottenham are not looking to cash in on out-of-favour winger Erik Lamela during the January window, despite contrary reports. 

Earlier this month, a report from Eurosport claimed that the Lilywhites would be willing to listen to offers for the Argentine international. However, the Italian transfer insider has ruled out the possibility of Lamela departing North London during the mid-season trading period. 

Romano has further confirmed that the 28-year-old, who has a contract until 2022, is focussed on fighting for a place in Jose Mourinho’s ranks after recovering from an injury. The journalist, though, has added that a potential exit for Lamela could be a more plausible possibility at the end of the season as the Argentine would have only 12 months remaining on his contract next summer. 

Competition for places

Lamela endured a slow start to life at Tottenham under former manager Andre Villas-Boas following his move to North London from AS Roma in 2013. In the following campaign, however, he established himself as a key player under Mauricio Pochettino and went on to play some of his best football during the 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons. 

Ex-Premier League striker Noel Whelan believes January is the right time for Jose Mourinho to sell Erik Lamela. (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)
Ex-Premier League striker Noel Whelan believes January is the right time for Jose Mourinho to sell Erik Lamela. (Mike Hewitt/Getty Images Europe)

In recent seasons, though, the former River Plate graduate hasn’t really managed to emulate the lofty standards he had set for himself earlier. The Argentine’s struggles with recurrent injuries, coupled with stiff competition for places, meant that he started less than 10 PL fixtures in each of his three campaigns between 2016 and 2019. 

Lamela was given a fair crack of the whip to prove himself by new manager Jose Mourinho last season. The attacking midfielder made 25 appearances, including 12 starts in the Premier League but managed to contribute with only 2 goals and an assist. Hence, his lack of impact clearly explains his diminished role at the club this term. 

The 28-year-old has made 13 appearances so far this season but has started only twice in the PL. In truth, Lamela isn’t the only attacker to have struggled for game time at Tottenham in the ongoing campaign. Heung-min Son’s sparkling form, coupled with the emergence of Steven Bergwijn in a bigger role has pushed Lucas Moura down the pecking order as well. 

Lamela has started just twice in the PL so far this season (Getty Images)

The fact that a stalwart like Gareth Bale has seldom featured clearly underlines the fierce competition for places on the flanks. 

Lamela remains a key squad player

The Argentine international might only have played a bit-part role so far but he could possibly have a bigger part to play between now and the end of the season. With Tottenham still very much alive in four competitions, Mourinho will surely need to rotate his squad to cope with the challenge of having to excel on all fronts. 

Lamela offers a lot of experience at this level with over 150 appearances in the Premier League. That, coupled with his ability to operate in multiple positions across the forward line could make him a useful option for Mourinho heading into a hectic winter schedule. 

Tottenham Hotspur’s Argentinian midfielder Erik Lamela (R) vies for the ball against Manchester United’s English defender Luke Shaw (L) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford in Manchester, north-west England, on October 4, 2020. (Getty Images)

Verdict

Having said that, however, Tottenham should be open to a summer exit for Erik Lamela as he has already entered the final 18 months of his contract. While they should retain him as a squad player for the remainder of the campaign, Lamela’s future will surely be up for discussion in the summer. 

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Despite flashes of brilliance, Lamela hasn’t really hit the heights that were expected of him when he initially joined the club in 2013. Hence, with the Argentine set to turn 29 in March, Tottenham should look to raise some cash by selling him in the summer rather than offering him a new deal to extend his stay in North London.

Written by Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game.

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