Tottenham’s record signing Erik Lamela may have featured in both games under new boss Tim Sherwood, but the possibility of him departing White Hart Lane in January remains strong according to various reports this weekend.
The winger cost £30m from Roma in the summer and was expected to fill the Gareth Bale-shaped void at the club following the Welshman’s high-profile move to Real Madrid.
But the 21-year-old arrived amid rumours that he was far from being boss Andre Villas Boas’ first choice, with Chelsea-bound Willian the man desired instead.
And there appeared to be some genuine substance to the theory, given that Lamela would make only two starts under AVB before he was given the boot following their heavy defeat at home to Liverpool.
And while Sherwood signalled his attacking intent by naming the Argentine on the right flank in a bold line-up away at Southampton, Lamela had to make do with a 15-minute cameo from the bench in Thursday’s game at home to West Brom.
It all means that, having as many starts for Argentina to his name this season as for Spurs, the young winger is desperate for first team football to ensure he remains in national team coach Alex Sabella’s plans for a big summer in Brazil, where Argentina remain among the favourites, at 9/2.
With that in mind, this weekend several news outlets named Italian giants Napoli, Inter Milan and Juventus as among those keen to bring the player back to Serie A, where he starred for three seasons at Roma.
La Liga’s Atletico Madrid, currently lying levels on points with Barcelona at the top of the Spanish league, have also been linked.
But given that the club were happy to spend £30m on bringing him to north London, they are unlikely to entertain the scenario of letting his services go without the opportunity to recoup some of the considerable fee.
And despite being dropped again against West Brom, Sherwood’s clear desire to play a more open and expansive 4-4-2 formation could still hold some real hope for Lamela’s first team chances, with Bale’s departure and Villas Boas’ tendency to buy a number of central players meaning that the Spurs squad has few real wide options to choose from. Spurs are 9/2 to finish the season in the top four.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.