A Tottenham Hotspur all-time great has commended the club for securing the arrival of 'Coco' Lamela.
A diminutive midfielder of exceptional talent, Ardiles received his football education on the Bell Ville streets where it quickly became apparent he could play with the ball seemingly glued to his boot. A World Cup winner in 1978, Ardiles joined Spurs, quickly established himself as a club icon and claimed FA Cup and UEFA Cup honours.
The 61-year-old was a delighted observer throughout Tottenham's summer as Andre Villas-Boas, with the help of technical director Franco Baldini, brought in £105m worth of talent that has included Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Christian Eriksen.
However, none have excited him more so than the arrival of fellow countryman Lemela: 'It is not at all becomes he too comes from Argentina! It’s simply because of the way he plays. He’s a different type of player; to my mind a real Spurs player,' he told the club's official website.
'These days you could describe a lot of players as manufactured. But not Lamela. He is a natural – and very talented. He is also extremely mature in his game for his age.'
When foreign players are bought by English clubs, there is oft a caveat attached where the player may not excel immediately as he becomes acclimatised to a new club, new culture, new style of football and a new league.
Lamela's diverse background, though… having experienced relegation with one of the most successful South American sides; River Plate, before embarking on a transition to Italy's Serie A at a tender age in his development, will put him in good stead throughout his debut Premier League seasons, says Ossie.
'He made his debut [when he was] very young at a big club like River Plate. And he coped very well with the pressure in what was a traumatic season for the club as they were relegated under the format of the Argentina Primera that takes into account the form of each club over the past three seasons.
'Then the move to Roma – and we all know how difficult it is to play in Serie A. Despite his youth – and remember he’s only 21 now – he had a good record there. He showed his resolve and there is something extra about him as he approaches his football from a very different angle.'
Lamela takes on the number 11 shirt left vacant by Gareth Bale after the Welshman's £85.3m transfer to Real Madrid. Ardiles implies that even Lamela's playing style lends itself to be comparable to Bale due to his positional sense. Whilst identified as a left forward, Lamela has license to roam across the forward zone. However, unlike the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu's latest Galactico, Lamela is more of a trequartista.
'He is never predictable in his play; he’s much more subtle than that. I would sum him up as very skilful at pace. In Argentina he was seen as a traditional number 10. And only the very special players achieve that acclaim. He can play in that crucial creative area behind the main striker; as an attacking midfielder or more to the left which he has done with success.
'All in all he is very talented,' he concluded. 'It’s great to have him here and I’m excited about the immediate future at Tottenham.'
image: © sachab