Now that we’ve solved the mystery of the whereabouts of Vlad Chiriches, it’s time to ask the question, where is Tottenham’s record signing, Erik Lamela?
Erik Lamela last appeared for Tottenham in the home match against Stoke City at the end of December. He had started Spurs’ first Premier League match under Tim Sherwood and played for an hour against Southampton before being substituted. He then came on a s substitute in the next two games at White Hart Lane, playing the last 15 minutes.
Since then he has been out with a back injury although he did play for just under an hour in a training match against Charlton Athletic at Hotspur Way in early January and scored one of the goals as a Spurs XI won 10 – 6.
During the January transfer window there had been speculation that Lamela could return to Italy but Tim Sherwood played down such talk as SkySports reported the manager’s comments,
We know what a talented player Erik is and we also understand how players need time to settle. He’s needing that time to acclimatise to a new country.
Speaking about Lamela’s injury problems, Sherwood said,
He’s still feeling fatigued in one of his thighs so we are being very cautious with him. We don’t want that to turn into a real injury problem so we’re going to take it nice and steady with him.
Over the past two months, nothing more has been heard of Lamela apart from the regular press-conference information that he is still not available for selection due to his back injury.
FOUND – The Lesser-Spotted Lamela
Two months on, Lamela has finally been spotted at White Hart Lane. On Sunday, during the north London derby @HotspurRelated tweeted a photo taken by Scott Moore @sco_moore showing Lamela sitting at the back of the Tottenham dug-out behind the manager and Roberto Soldado, with a light blue hoodie pulled up over his head.
— Hotspur Related (@HotspurRelated) March 16, 2014
With 9 matches of the season remaining, I’m not expecting a miracle in Lisbon on Thursday evening, Tim Sherwood is reported by The Star to be hopeful of having Lamela back in the squad before the end of the season but there are no guarantees.
Sherwood said last week,
He’s back now at the training ground; he’s having rehab. It’s slowly, slowly, he’s getting closer, as you would expect. There was a problem with his thigh, then they diagnosed the problem with his back. He is having continued treatment and now he’s started rehab.
While Sherwood has spoken of the Argentine’s return to training, there is no date set for his return to playing and an article in The Telegraph suggests that it will not be before mid-April.
Erik at Tottenham
Erik Lamela cost Tottenham a record-breaking £30m from Roma last August. He made his first appearance as a substitute against Arsenal at the Emirates. He has made 17 appearances for Spurs, starting 10 games and scoring 1 goal in his best game against Tromso in the Europa League.
Lamela’s injury problems are putting his place in the Argentine squad for the World Cup Finals in Brazil in doubt and there will be questions over is long-term future come the summer with the uncertainty of who will be in charge at White Hart Lane next season.