When Erik Lamela arrived at Tottenham Hotspur in a £30million deal last summer, their fans would have been forgiven for thinking they had bought a ready-made superstar.
After all, the Argentine had netted 15 goals in 33 league appearances for Roma the season before, and for that kind of money, Spurs were surely getting a real talent, right?
Well, those hopes swiftly did an about-turn and as quickly as Lamela had been hailed a star he was suddenly branded a flop.
An injury-hit debut season at White Hart Lane saw him make just 17 appearances in all competitions, scoring one goal and providing four assists. But this season has been another matter entirely, and here are three reasons why he will still become a superstar:
He is young
Lamela is only 22, which is something that seems to be forgotten when people claim he is not the finished article, or that he looks out place alongside the likes of Lionel Messi and Angel Di Maria when on international duty. In truth he does not look out of place, he is simply not at that outstanding duo’s level, but let’s face it, few are!
Lamela will take time to reach his peak and it is encouraging that despite his age he appears to have learnt from his first season at Spurs and is already looking like a completely different player.
In short, imagine how good he will be by his mid-twenties.
He is extremely talented
Talent wins out eventually, and Lamela is proving that as he already has six assists in 10 appearances this season. He will have been frustrated with how his debut campaign went but he will have known what he is capable of, and if he was not talented, he would not be picked in an Argentina squad chockfull of world-class players.
He is one of the next generation and with patience he will blossom.
He is part of a blossoming squad
Speaking of which, Lamela is one of a number of young Tottenham players who, over the next few years, will grow into a star. The likes of Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb and Harry Kane are all extremely young, and yet they have been given chances by Mauricio Pochettino, a manager who has already shown he can get the best out of youth.
Patience is key when it comes to Lamela, but he will ultimately be a superstar, with Tottenham reaping the rewards.