Erik Lamela could be given a baptism of fire this weekend in Tottenham’s North London derby clash against Arsenal.
There is going to be a lot of interest in the Argentinian forward as Spurs have shelled out mega cash to ensure that they signed him ahead of the other sides that were in the running.
If the small bits and pieces, most importantly his medical, of the deal can all go through officially then Andre Villas-Boas could call on his new boy to provide attacking support to Roberto Soldado this weekend.
If he is thrown in at the deep end then Tottenham fans shouldn’t be too bothered because there are plenty of reasons why he shouldn’t be affected or intimidated by the atmosphere at the Emirates stadium.
It’s important to bear in mind, this is a young man coming from Serie A football where problems with crowd control and discipline from supporters are predominantly a lot worse than in the Premier League.
Lamela is only 21-years-old and he would have experienced plenty of the aggressive verbal abuse in Serie A first hand so he’ll already be hardened up to it.
In short, what Arsenal fans may throw at him when he gets close enough to them for verbal rants to be heard, he’ll more than likely see as water off of a duck’s back.
Furthermore, this is a guy coming from Roma, a club that has one of the most hostile rivalries in the world with Lazio.
Those two sides hate each other in a big way due to the political history surrounding each. It’s more than a rivalry which exists just because both teams are geographically located in the same place.
There are numerous examples in the past where Roma and Lazio fans have quite publicly gone at each other in street fights, brawls and riots, which unfortunately shame what is one of Europe's great leagues.
Mentally he’ll cope perfectly well and it’s the more tactical side of football where he may struggle.
The Premier League is one of the most physical leagues in Europe. Players tend to get away with a lot more and Lamela’s age and inexperience will make him a target for key Arsenal players.
They could effectively look to bully him out of the game but the good news for Spurs fans is that he’s naturally quite a big striker at six feet tall.
Physically he can hold his own but it will be interesting to see how he copes with the pace and the tempo of Premier League football; not having so much time on the ball, quicker attacks and counter attacks and generally a greater physical strain across the body.
Lamela isn’t naïve enough to expect that he’ll stroll through the North London derby if selected from the start but he’s certainly in good shape to handle it if he’s thrown in.
How do you think Lamela will get on if he’s ready for Arsenal this Sunday?
image: © Ronnie Macdonald