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Erik Lamela Makes Tottenham a Certainty for Premier League Top 4

ROME, ITALY - MARCH 17:  Erik Lamela of Roma  in action during the Serie A match between AS Roma and Parma FC at Stadio Olimpico on March 17, 2013 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images)
Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images
Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterAugust 28, 2013

According to Eurosport, Tottenham have agreed on a deal to sign Erik Lamela from Roma for €30 million plus bonuses. The deal is subject to a medical, but the Italian club have all but confirmed the sale in an official communication to the fans.

Should the full payments be made, it will eclipse the deal struck to sign Roberto Soldado from Valencia this summer, making the Argentinian winger the most expensive signing in the club's history.

It's a lot of money, sure, but the signing of Lamela makes Tottenham Hotspur a certainty for a top-four finish in the Premier League this season.

The former River Plate academy product has shone in Europe since joining the Giallorossi in a €14 million deal in 2011, and during his time on the Continent it's become clear he's a talent to rival those at the very top of the game.

Simply put, he is one of the few players in world football who can hope to trouble the likes of Cristiano Ronalo and Lionel Messi—he's that good.

 

At Roma

Playing at Roma, and in particular under Aurelio Andreazzoli in the final stages of the 2012-13 season, really brought his skill set to the fore, and it's a wonder no bigger fish came in to whisk him away.

Capable of playing anywhere across the advanced midfield line, Lamela showed the ability to play in a direct, quick system and a slow, possession-first one too.

His major strengths lay in phenomenal pace, extreme quickness in tight areas and unbelievable close control, enabling him to run head-on at defenders and force them backward.

He made more appearances on the right-hand side for the capital club than anywhere else, and he forged a great link with Francesco Totti. The Italian maestro was able to release Lamela with perfectly timed through balls or find him arriving late in the penalty area off the edge of the box.

His haul of 15 goals from 33 appearances last season was seriously impressive, and they came in all shapes and sizes: tap-ins, long-range strikes, clever finishes and even some with his head.

 

At Spurs

The system at Spurs is night and day to the one at Roma, and Andre Villas-Boas clearly has faith that Lamela can settle quickly and adapt to a new style and league.

The main point of interest, early on, is how well the Argentine finds his niche as the main attraction. At Roma it was all about Totti, and Lamela was more of a foil for the legendary Italian, benefiting from his creativity. As the star rather than the up-and-comer, how will he cope?

AVB has the choice of playing Lamela on the right side of his 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 and allow him to adapt or to throw him in at the deep end and play him centrally. He has shown early on that he has the raw requirements for a false-nine role and, as such, can thrive in the No. 10 role.

He boasts the ability to come in off the flank (like Eden Hazard) and stay wide (like Jesus Navas), meaning Premier League full-backs will have a very tough time gauging him early on.

He can grow into Bale's role from last season no question, and he arguably represents the most direct and obvious replacement for the Welshman on the market.

 

Top Four Beckons

This may well conclude Spurs' business, and the squad AVB has accumulated is strong enough to manage a top-four challenge and a deep run into cup competitions. If more is added, that's even better.

For the first time in a while, the Lilywhites have a recognised 20-goal striker, a world-class attacker, a proper left-back and incredible depth at holding midfield.

When you look at their nearest challengers—Liverpool, Arsenal and Everton—it's impossible to be quite as positive. There are several days left in the window, but can the Gunners really do enough to catch up at this point in time?

Spurs are the envy of world football aficionados right now, and rightly so: Lamela is a can't-miss talent who will guarantee ascension.

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