Erik Lamela is set to have his best season since arriving in England, underlining why Tottenham didn’t give up on him. It has been a difficult few years for the Argentine, as he struggled with the pressure that his £30 million price tag brought. Serious injuries followed, and it looked like he would never fulfil his potential in North London. That has changed since the start of the current season and he is quickly emerging as a key player in the Spurs’ attack.
Across the Premier League and Champions League, Lamela has contributed five goals and three assists. Although he has yet to nail down a regular starting role, he is becoming more and more difficult to leave out. His goal involvement per minute stands at 65.1 across the two major competitions and it is set to be his best attacking season for Tottenham.
His underlying stats are encouraging, as he is attempting 2.1 shots and 1.1 dribbles per game in the Premier League. In addition to offering a threat, Lamela has a knack of scoring important goals with two of his four Premier League goals being winners. Tottenham have been reliant on Harry Kane in recent years, therefore the emergence of another regular goal-scorer comes at a good time.
It was long hoped that Lamela would be a quality player for Tottenham. Supporters expected the Argentine to be the main replacement for Gareth Bale during the summer of 2013. Those were lofty expectations, which were placed on the 26-year-old unfairly. There was no doubting his potential, but he was a young player arriving in a new country and he needed to be given time to adapt.
Lamela is lucky in a way, as few players are given a settling in period for as long as he has been. Tottenham have grown a lot under Mauricio Pochettino and new attackers have emerged, which led to the pressure going off of the former Roma player.
Although others emerged, Tottenham never gave up on their big money signing and the appointment of compatriot Pochettino was a positive for Lamela. The manager clearly believes in the attacker and his form at the beginning of this season shows why.
Tottenham have gone under the radar at the start of this season, with Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea being considered the leading teams in the Premier League. However, Spurs have once again shown the value of good coaching. They didn’t sign any players during the summer, but their fringe players have emerged to provide competition.
Lamela is an example of one of those. Another is Lucas Moura. The former will be hoping for more starts over the coming months, as he looks to fulfil the potential that he has had since he arrived in England.