Chelsea may have stolen Willian from under Tottenham’s noses, but Spurs may in fact be getting the better deal with a move for AS Roma’s Erik Lamela now on the cards.
In a typical moment of Jose Mourinho mischief, the Blues boss cheekily criticised Spurs for going public with Willian’s medical. The Brazilian international underwent a medical at White Hart Lane earlier in the week before considering his options and now looks to be on the verge of a move to Chelsea.
Such a cruel twist in the tail has prompted allegations from some groups of Spurs fans that Chelsea tapped up the Anzhi Makhachkala winger, but those wounds will heal a lot quicker if a deal for Lamela is pushed through.
At just 21-years-old, Lamela has four years on Willian. Although the Argentinean has represented his country on only one occasion, Willian has enjoyed a similarly sparse international career with just two caps for Brazil - without the excuse of youth on his side.
Lamela has also proven himself in Serie A, one of the toughest leagues in Europe. Barcelona initially made an approach to Lamela’s family when he was just twelve years old, but the youngster was not prepared to move continents and instead signed for River Plate.
Lamela only made the move to Italy reluctantly when Plate, Argentina’s most successful club, were relegated after a turbulent decade. However, having matured greatly at Roma, the time is surely right for Lamela to make the move to England.
Andre Villas-Boas is facing up to the prospect of life without Real Madrid target Gareth Bale, with the stage seemingly having been set – quite literally – for the Welshman’s unveiling at the Bernabeu. One of the few concerns surrounding Lamela will be his slight build, which could mean it will take time for him to adapt to the Premier League. Nonetheless, former Spurs playmaker Luka Modric faced the same challenges and went on to become one of Totteham’s biggest stars.
Lamela has the perfect credentials to succeed Bale, although he will admittedly have huge shoes to fill to replace last season’s PFA player of the year. Nacer Chadli, Danny Rose and Andros Townsend can all play on the left, but Lamela can provide an extra cutting edge with his Bale-esque ability to slither through defences.
One of the most promising young playmakers in Europe, the man nicknamed ‘Coco’ by teammates has enormous potential to fill Bale’s boots and could quickly calm anxious Spurs fans who have resigned themselves to losing their prize asset.
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