Why didn’t Tottenham ignore Lamela and sign Ozil?

A too simple and impossible scenario? Possibly. But the mercurial German would have given Spurs the spark they appear to be lacking.

“Pedestrian”, “no end product”, “boring” – these are some of the things my Tottenham supporting friends have said to describe their team this season.

I have arguments with them, because at the start of the campaign I decided Spurs had been savvy enough in the transfer market to not just break the top-four monopoly but realistically challenge for the title.

At the time, the more optimistic of supporters agreed with my sentiment if not my prediction, claiming it was too early and Champions League qualification would be fine in the short term.

The pessimists kept quiet, until now.

Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat at home to Newcastle United this afternoon is another piece of evidence for those fans who claim Tottenham have many of the right components but are lacking the spark to jolt them into life.

While their midfield is safe and, more often than not, secure, their star striker Roberto Soldado is too often left with the slimmest of pickings.

And while their defence is one of the best in the league – both in record and in personnel – just one goal conceded can often be enough to prevent a Spurs victory.

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Fans will be understandably bemused by the decision to leave Erik Lamela on the bench after his break-out performance against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League; that even when Tim Krul appeared to be doing his best impression of a one-man wall the sprightly Argentine watched from the wings rather than the wing.

But the performance made me think not what would have happened had Lamela been introduced, but if he had not been bought in the first place.

For all Spurs’ ability they are lacking something between the stability and the goal-threat. And while Christian Eriksen may well grow into the dominant play-maker his talent suggests, my question is a simple one:

Why didn’t Spurs spend big on Mesut Ozil instead of Lamela. The latter cost a club record £30million, while the former cost Arsenal £42.5million.

Had Daniel Levy knocked £12.5million off Gareth Bale’s price-tag, he could have been no less out of pocket but in possession of one of the world’s best play-makers - had Ozil agreed of course.

Imagine him behind Soldado, and then tell me the Spaniard would still be relying on scraps and penalties.

It is a very simple analysis of a complex situation. But as the German continues to impress for Tottenham’s fierce rivals, on the off-chance they could have signed him instead I would suggest it would be Spurs and not Arsenal currently looking down on the rest of the league.

See also: Five things we learned about Tottenham in Newcastle defeat

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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