With the January transfer window set to open in two days, what makes it much more interesting this year is that when the calender changes over January 1, 2014, it will signal that we are officially in a World Cup year. With that in mind, many players will want to be playing regularly in order to be considered by their respective national team managers.
One of those players is Argentine winger Erik Lamela, who has had a bad start to his Premier League career with Tottenham. Lamela come over from Serie A side AS Roma late in the summer transfer window in deal worth between £26-30 million and with that price tag, a lot was expected of the 21-year-old.
Yet, things have not gotten off to a good start as he has failed to establish himself halfway through the 2013-14 season. So far, Lamela has only made nine appearances for the team while scoring one goal.
Considering this development, there have been reports stating that he is poised to return to Italy on a loan deal with either Juventus, SSC Napoli or Inter as the destination club. While it could normally be said that such a move after only six months is pushing the panic button, especially given all the turmoil that has surrounded the club recently with the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas, the fact is that Lamela needs to play if he wants to play for Argentina at the 2014 World Cup.
In the games that Lamela has gotten a chance to play for the ‘Albiceleste’, he has proven to be a player who was not weighed down by playing for his country while offering coach Alejandro Sabella a great attacking option off the bench to deploy on the left side. Combine that with great technical skill, and it seems like Lamela would be a shoo-in to be named to the 23-man squad to represent Argentina come June.
Yet, the chance to represent Argentina at this upcoming World Cup is slipping away from Lamela’s hands as his lack of playing time with Tottenham is making Sabella slowly begin to take his name off the list of those under consideration. Given that Argentina have a dearth of options in the forward/winger position, not playing really hurts Lamela’s case to play in Brazil next summer.
That is why him going out on loan, with the most likely destination being Italy, is his best and safest option to salvage a spot with Argentina for the World Cup. Staying at Tottenham for the rest of the 2013-14 season will mean that he can kiss goodbye to his chances.