Erik Lamela first came to world’s attention at the tender age of 12 when a film crew travelled to Argentina to interview the kid who was already making headlines after scoring 120 goals for River Plate's youth side during the previous season.
In the years that have passed, Lamela progressed through the ranks at River Plate before joining Roma in 2011. A stellar 2012-13 season with the Italian side led to a reported £30 million pound move to Tottenham, becoming Spurs’ record signing.
His time with Spurs has been marked by difficulties in settling into life in the Premier League. He has mostly been plying his trade for Spurs in the far less physical environment of the Europa League. UEFA's secondary club competition has also been the scene of his best performance so far, against Sheriff Tiraspol in early November.
Lamela’s travails are not really surprising. Even Premier League greats like Didier Drogba and Thierry Henry had to endure tough opening seasons.
The relentless pace of the Premier League is an eye-opener for a number of footballers. Although a few - like Sergio Agüero - take to it like a fish takes to water, most footballers need some more time.
Lest we forget, Lamela has been at the club for just over three months and the language barrier won't have helped. The title of Spurs' record signing is a huge millstone around the neck and the pressure of inheriting the number 11 jersey from the guy who scored 30-yard match-winning goals like they were simple tap-ins (Gareth Bale), certainly isn’t beneficial.
However, if he is shown patience and given time to settle, Spurs might just see the best of Lamela – the guy who terrorises defences with top-notch dribbling skills and frightening pace.
Write for GiveMeSport! Sign-up to the GMS Writing Academy here: http://gms.to/1a2u3KU