According to talkSPORT, long-term Tottenham Hotspur target Ezequiel Lavezzi will reject a move to White Hart Lane in favour of making a surprise return to Argentina. The Premier League club are said to have expressed an interest in the talented Paris Saint-Germain forward, whose future in France looks uncertain.
HITC Sport have taken a look at the the Argentine's form from the previous domestic campaign, to reveal what Spurs would have gained had they made a move for the 30-year-old. He would, of course, have created direct competition for Nacer Chadli on the left-wing; with whom we have compared the statistics from last term.
The Belgian international proved a key figure for the Lilywhites as they chased a top-six finish, while Lavezzi fell further out-of-favour with the Parisians. Nonetheless, the latter emerges marginally superior in all but one of the seven key areas examined from last season, despite playing significantly fewer minutes of first-team football than his prospective team-mate.
Neither player lacked goals last term, with Lavezzi scoring eight times in 31 appearances, compared to Chadli's efforts of 11 in 35 matches. However, taken on a 'per ninety minute' basis - which takes into account his inferior playing time - the Argentine actually scored more regularly, recording 0.43 goals per full match to the Belgian's 0.41.
Lavezzi completed an average of 29 successful passes per ninety minutes in Ligue 1 last season, compared to 33 from Chadli in the Premier League - the Belgian's sole victory in this comparison. However, the Paris Saint Germain winger excelled for pass completion, with 86% to 83% from the Spurs man.
The Argentine was also superior creatively, supplying more key passes per ninety minutes (1.46 to 1.34), while also creating more chances (1.57 to 1.53). He also proved marginally more successful when it comes to take-ons, completing 46.34% of his attempts to dribble past an opponent, compared to Chadli's 45.74%. Although, in reality there is really little to split between them here.
Although the differences between the two players are slender, these statistics follow a season in which Lavezzi played little more than a bit-part role for the French champions. Considering 18 of his appearances came as a substitute, one would struggle to argue against the notion that his performances would improve.
At 30 years of age, however, Pochettino may be reluctant to stifle the progression of Chadli, who really came into his own when given a decent run out last term. Despite the regular links between both player and club, Tottenham may be best served investing faith in the Belgian winger this term, rather than investing further in their attempts to strengthen out wide.