Mauricio Pochettino was a big Erik Lamela fan – but will Mourinho hand the Argentine another Premier League chance at Spurs?
Danny Murphy believes Erik Lamela is ripe for the chop at Tottenham Hotspur with the Argentine attacker lacking the required athleticism to thrive under Jose Mourinho, speaking to Jim White on talkSPORT (6 April, 12.30pm).
How on earth will history look back on Lamela’s Spurs career?
On one hand, he has recovered from that miserable, injury-hit debut season under Tim Sherwood and Andre Villas-Boas to establish himself as something of a cult hero in North London. But it’s fair to say bigger things were expected of a man who, when signing from Roma in a £30 million deal seven years ago, was challenged with filling a Gareth Bale-shaped void in Tottenham’s XI.
Mourinho is not exactly famed for his willingness to show patience with injury-prone players and, given that Lamela has once again missed a sizeable chunk of the season with a hamstring problem, the 28-year-old may now be facing an uncertain future.
“He’s not got enough goals for a forward player with his ability. You can never doubt his endeavour, I love his tenacity but he’s flattered to deceive at times. He’s best seasons were quite a long time back now,” says former Spurs midfielder Murphy.
“He’s got enough ability to do more than he’s done. Pochettino going is a big blow for him. I think Pochettino going means the end for Lamela. I don’t see him being there under Jose.
“He’s not athletic enough.”
Next season, Lamela will have Steven Bergwijn, Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura for competition – and that’s assuming Tottenham don’t look to the transfer market for another fleet-footed forward option.
As Murphy points out, Lamela has only ever hit double figures in a single campaign once since moving to North London with just two under his belt from 17 appearances this season. The phrase ‘flattered to deceive’ certainly comes to mind.