Skip to content

Lamela has run out of time

6 min read
by Bardi

Erik Lamela’s career hasn’t taken off at Spurs. Two years on and we are still waiting for it to start. At this point, at his age and with the need to give Pochettino a team he can work work as soon as possible, it’s time to cut him loose.

There was a moment eighteen months ago where I wrote about how we had failed Erik Lamela. How Spurs, his teammates, his family and friends had combined to make Lamela an unmitigated failure. It wasn’t the man it was us.

The young man had sauntered into Spurs as we approached the precipice, the very top of the Magnificent Seven, Franco Baldini, Andre Villas-Boas and Daniel Levy cluster face punch. The powers within our club had royally messed things up, we hadn’t hit an iceberg, we had Google mapped its location and ploughed into it backwards.

Bobbing about on the surface in the immediate aftermath were individuals like Lamela, individuals who needed rescuing by Tim Sherwood, a rescue that never came. Lamela sunk that season, he disappeared into the depths and wasn’t spotted again until the end of season lap of “honour.”

However, things changed. Spurs started to shift away from the “self-harm-use a plaster-self-harm-use a plaster” cycle that has been the regular course of action for ENIC and their brainiacs. Whether or not this course is the right course, remains to be seen, but at least we have a path mapped out. Our club is in the process of changing and this change is aimed at helping players like Lamela. This was supposed to signal the start a solid career at Spurs for the Argentine.

Solid career. This was supposed to start a solid career at Spurs for Lamela. Do you see how subdued my hopes for him were?

I wasn’t asking for Bale moments where he would pull us out of the fire. I wasn’t even asking for him to catch a cat being tossed out of a burning window. I just wanted him to be able to pick up the phone, dial 999 and perhaps move his car if it would hinder the fire engine’s positioning.

Nearly two years to the day from his arrival Lamela hasn’t shown the desire to build on his undoubted technical class

By sinking in that awful first season all we wanted from the Argentine was some improvement and perhaps a sign that he would settle into Mauricio Pochettino’s system. Having missed Argentina’s run to the World Cup final, he spent the whole summer with his new manager and fellow Argentine. Many of us expected explosive physical results of having a summer to focus on his weaknesses, a summer where he would develop into a specimen that looked like it could exist in our game, yet when the season restarted, there he was, the same waif like figure that Bale had cut at 17.

To succeed in the Premier League you at least one defining feature. Speed, strength, determination, guile and explosiveness. Those that go on to be PL legends have two to three at least, Ronaldo, Henry, Cantona, Aguero, Silva, Bale and Suarez (loose term legend for the last two but my point stands.) What God did not grant them they earned. Nearly two years to the day from his arrival Lamela hasn’t shown the desire to build on his undoubted technical class.

The man he has become is undoubtedly pure silk, the way he moves, controls the ball and drifts into gaps is a thing of beauty, but that isn’t enough. The Premier League isn’t the best league in the world, but it is one of the most unforgiving. If you lack in a certain area then you will be found out and exposed.

Against lesser opposition Lamela showed what he has in abundance. Burnley he tormented, Sheriff he pulled apart and against Asteras he scored a goal that I will be forever grateful that I saw live. A goal that had most of doubting what we had actually seen, but that isn’t enough. Harry Kane also shone in these “lesser” games but his application and dedication off the pitch saw him transform from a tall awkward striker, in to a bustling hulk of a man that even seemed to develop a nifty turn of pace.

Like most young players at Spurs, or young/old people in life, Kane is an example we should all follow. Work hard and improve what you were given. Unless you are Messi, Garrincha or Maradona or another player that was created by the universe to thrill, you won’t get anywhere without hard work. Lamela for all his ability didn’t do this, but the moment that killed him was when we started pointing to his defensive abilities.

Aaron Lennon is/was a fan’s favourite. There were moments in his career where he would torment some of the best left backs the league had to offer, but when he became less effective going forward we looked at his effectiveness going backwards. We complemented his secondary ability to chase and hound down players. It is like driving a Ferrari Dino to do the shopping. Lamela is supposed to be an attacking weapon, his ability to defend although helpful isn’t supposed to be his main asset.

Lamela hasn’t been good value, not because he isn’t a £30m player, but because by and large he has been incredibly average, occasionally bordering on useless

In truth Lamela allowed last season to pass him by. It was an improvement on his debut season but it wasn’t enough. A moment here and there, a few nice assists across our 60 game season was a nice addition, but he never changed a real game.

This isn’t his transfer tag holding his head underwater, but his ability and attitude. A price does not necessarily represent a level of expectation, a level of expectation is represented by your potential. Lamela arrived with potential, we paid for his potential, he now leaves with it most of it unfulfilled.

Saido Berahino a player likely to take Lamela’s place in the team has been slapped with a similar price tag, not because he is a £25m player, but because of market forces and his potential. Whether he is a success, should he arrive, will not be on a “represents good value” basis, but by whether he scores some goals and makes a significant difference to our club.

Three games into his third season at Spurs, Lamela hasn’t been good value, not because he isn’t a £30m player, but because by and large he has been incredibly average, occasionally bordering on useless. Whether he had cost £1m or had come on loan, he is bad business because he hasn’t delivered.

In my piece 18 months ago I said we had failed him, today as we wait for his move back to Italy to be completed I see that he failed us. Football moves at such a pace that you either adapt or get out, Lamela has failed to adapt to this country, the league and our football. He isn’t a bad footballer, he just isn’t the footballer we need or we can continue to wait for. We don’t have any more time to give him and if we have very little time, then Pochettino has even less. We along with the manager cannot continue to wait for a man to arrive that isn’t coming.

It is the outcome I didn’t want, but it is the outcome that we need. Good bye and good luck Erik. Buena suerte.

All views and opinions expressed in this article are the views and opinions of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Fighting Cock. We offer a platform for fans to commit their views to text and voice their thoughts. Football is a passionate game and as long as the views stay within the parameters of what is acceptable, we encourage people to write, get involved and share their thoughts on the mighty Tottenham Hotspur.



  1. park lane Spurs
    26/08/2015 @ 3:08 pm

    Can’t really argue with any of that Bardi…. I so wanted him to do well, but now he’s leaving, I’m surprised how apathetic I am towards that potential loss.

  2. SpursPedant
    29/08/2015 @ 1:52 pm

    I disagree. The potential is still there, the investment has been made, the player seems willing to work hard. Same story with Soldado and look what he did last night for Villareal. Sell CoCo now and we will regret it. Apart from anything else, we’ll be lucky to get half of his purchase price from Milan.

Would you like to write for The Fighting Cock?