Tottenham legend Ossie Ardiles is confident that club record buy Erik Lamela will soon establish himself as the best player at White Hart Lane.
Lamela joined Tottenham from Roma during the summer transfer window for a deal that could be worth up to €35 million.
Despite his heft price tag the Argentinian is yet to establish himself in the Tottenham first team while fellow new arrivals such as Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and in particular Christian Eriksen have made an instant impact.
While he is yet to stamp his authority on his new side, Ardiles, who made 238 league appearances for Spurs, says his countryman has the ability to be the main man in north London.
“I am very impressed with Eriksen, immediately he’s been wonderful,” said the 61-year-old told the Tottenham Journal. “Lamela will take more time, but over the long term he’ll be our best buy. I’m looking forward to seeing him develop.
“In Argentina, Lamela played for River Plate and he was named the new Messi. He moved to Roma and was labelled the new Totti. That gives you an idea how talented he is.
“He can play behind the centre forward, on the right and the left. He’s not as powerful as Gareth Bale but he’s much more skilful - he’s a different kind of player. I would say he has a more difficult time to adjust, but I believe he will be our best buy this summer."
Lamela arrived at Tottenham just days before Gareth Bale departed to join Real Madrid for a world-record £86 million, and was part of a seven-player £100m spending spree designed to negate the loss of the Welshman.
Somewhat inevitably the 21-year-old has been compared to Bale, but Ardiles says it is the job f the whole team to ensure the former Southampton ace isn't missed.
“It’s always very difficult to replace a player like Gareth Bale," he said. "He was absolutely wonderful last season and I was worried how he was going to be replaced, but Tottenham did incredibly well over the summer and all [of the signings] are very talented.
“Last season we were a one-player team - now we are much more of a team and looking strongere