Costing your club a sack full of money comes with a lot of pressure. That pressure correlates with the amount of money spent and how quickly you begin to impress for your new club.
Andy Carroll found this difficult at Liverpool, while, almost impressively, Fernando Torres has amassed more Premier League cards for Chelsea than goals since his £50million switch from Liverpool - (22 cards, 19 goals). Andriy Shevchenko is another who needs no introduction, his time in England is best described as torrid, or just a waste.
At the other end of the spectrum, some players with top-heavy price tags seem to brush off the pressure in one fell swoop. See Sergio Aguero, Mesut Ozil, Eden Hazard… Juan Mata.
While over at Tottenham, Erik Lamela poses a slightly different problem. Signed from Roma for £26.5million in the summer, the Argentine has hardly had a free run in the Spurs team. Nine Premier League appearances, only three of them starts, it’s hardly been an easy transition for the 21-year-old.
There’s another thing, his age. At just 21, the pressure heaped on Lamela to perform at White Hart Lane is incredibly high, again not helped by the fact that he is seen as a replacement for Gareth Bale. Replacing a fan’s favourite and the best player the club’s had in years, perhaps barring Luka Modric, is not an easy thing to do.
Scoring 15 league goals for Roma last term and providing five assists from 30 starts isn’t too shabby at all for a youngster making his way in Europe, in fact it’s very impressive. So why has he not been able to replicate his scintillating Roma form, which earned him the move in the first place?
In the midfielder’s defence, coming in and out of the side probably doesn’t help; neither does the changing of manager. Finding your feet in England can be difficult for foreign players who’ve established themselves on the continent, let alone starting out. The aforementioned Shevchenko could not reproduce his Serie A form in the Premier League, neither could Juan Sebastian Veron.
So what do Spurs do with Lamela? It may be best for Tim Sherwood and his seniors to allow their number 11 to go out on loan. With the loan window opening soon, it would give him some much-needed confidence, while taking Spurs’ fans mind off of the fact that their record signing is on the bench.
Romelu Lukaku is a perfect example of how a loan can benefit a young player, struggling to impress his new club, but getting some game time and experience elsewhere. Whether it would be best for Lamela to remain in England or head back to Italy is unclear right now.
However, what is clear is that Spurs shouldn’t be deterred by a loan move, just because of the price they paid for the talented youngster. Lamela getting minutes somewhere else may be just what he and Spurs need now, despite the song’s words, ‘Everywhere you go, always take Lamela with you.’
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