Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and player contract extensions are hot topics in the press currently, with speculation over if and when Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld will sign new deals with the North London club.
This has been followed up by talk of improved terms for Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli – but one first-team man, who can leave Spurs for free this summer, has flown under the radar while the contract chatter rages.
Erik Lamela will become a free agent at the end of the season and as yet there has been no real rumblings over whether Tottenham will offer the Argentine a new deal.
The former Roma and River Plate attacker has recently returned from a horrendously frustrating 13 months on the sidelines and has been brought back into Mauricio Pochettino’s first-team thinking.
While the excellent form of Son Heung-min at Tottenham has forced Lamela to be patient in his bid to feature for the club, Spurs would be foolish to allow the South American to leave the club for nothing in six months time.
My overarching feeling about the Argentine during his time in England has been when, not if, he will become a major player for Pochettino’s men.
Injuries have certainly robbed him of that opportunity in two of the five seasons the attacker has been at Tottenham, but when Lamela has been fit and given the opportunity to play, he has contributed and impressed.
Highlights include ‘that’ Rabona goal in the Europa League, a man of the match performance in a 2-0 win over Manchester City at White Hart Lane and telling assists in the Champions League.
Lamela played a critical role in Tottenham finishing third in 2015-16 and was almost an automatic starter in Pochettino’s Spurs side for the campaign.
While he has been injured, Dele Alli has arrived and matured, Christian Eriksen has developed into one of the Premier League’s best and Son has proven his killer instinct.
However, despite this, Lamela still can play an important role for Tottenham and will surely be needed as the fixture list piles up at the start of February.
Considering his future, Spurs will have their concerns over the Argentina international’s fitness and the potential for an injury relapse.
However, if Lamela can prove himself physically over the next few months, it becomes a no-brainer for Tottenham to offer him a new deal rather than saying goodbye to a gifted individual and the £30 million they spent on him in 2013.