In 2013, Tottenham Hotspur splashed over £25 million on AS Roma’s Argentine winger Erik Lamela. This transfer became Spurs’ record signing, beating the fees paid for Paulinho and Roberto Soldado earlier in the same transfer window.
Following Gareth Bale’s multi-million move from north London to Real Madrid, Lamela took the number 11 shirt, the 23-year-old seen as an able replacement for the departing Welshman.
Lamela made his debut as a substitute against rivals Arsenal, the Gunners emerging 1-0 victors. The winger was mostly used as a back-up by then-manager Andre Villas-Boas, with his first league start coming in a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester City.
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Before his first league start, Lamela did open his Tottenham account with a goal in their 2-1 win over Moldovan side Sherriff Tiraspol in the Europa League.
Following the dismissal of Villas-Boas, his replacement, Tim Sherwood, regularly played Lamela, both in a starting role and from the bench. However, an injury set-back ended his debut season at White Hart Lane early.
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The new season also saw a new manager at Tottenham, and a fresh chance for Lamela to finally find his feet in the Premier League.
The newly-instated Mauricio Pochettino, formerly of Southampton, included Lamela in his starting line-up for the first game of the 2014/15 season, marking the winger’s first appearance of
In a Europa League win over AEL, from Cyprus, Lamela contributed with two assists. The Argentine continued his good start to the season with a further two assists against London rivals Queens Park Rangers.
Lamela scored his first goals of the 2014/15 season in a convincing 5-1 win over Greek team Asteras Tripoli, his first goal an incredible Rabona-inspired strike from outside the box. He added his first Premier League goal a few weeks later in a fixture against Burnley.
He ended the 2014/15 season with four goals and seven assists in all competitions. Lamela drew criticism for his lacklustre performances, with the view being that he had once again failed to justify his steep price tag.
As for the new season, Lamela has barely featured and when he has done so has been largely uninspiring. The Argentinian winger is yet to contribute a goal or an assist for the team.
In the summer window of 2015, Lamela was linked with a move away from White Hart Lane. Despite reported interest from Inter Milan and Marseille, the winger remained a Tottenham player and will hope to reignite his career.
Lamela has not produced the performances expected of a player who commanded a transfer fee in excess of £20 million. His Roma days seem a long way away, and Lamela may regret swapping the Serie A for the Premier League with the pressure increasing to deliver upon the potential that he was heralded with upon his arrival in London.