Tottenham Hotspur head into the international break in a pretty solid position, undoubtedly bolstered by their activity in the transfer window.
Jose Mourinho’s side find themselves sixth in the Premier League following a 6-1 drubbing of Manchester United at the weekend as well as easily breezing into the Europa League group stages.
The likes of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Matt Doherty and Sergio Reguillon have all made an instant impact since signing on the dotted line in north London but there’s so much more to come after the break.
And it could spell trouble for one of Spurs’ longest-serving players, Erik Lamela.
Gareth Bale made a sensational return to the club this summer and is yet to feature due to injury, though according to reports, he’s set to be fit after these international matches.
A massive boost for Mourinho but a likely nightmare for the 28-year-old winger.
Throughout the window, Lamela’s future at Spurs was thrown into doubt – Football Insider claimed back in February that Mourinho would listen to offers for the Argentinian this summer whilst the Daily Star suggested that he was free to leave for £20m in May.
His career in north London has forever been blighted by injury, playing only 228 times in seven seasons – that’s a little over 30 appearances per year.
It’s hard to make a case for him starting over Bale let alone the likes of Lucas Moura, Heung-min Son and Steven Bergwijn.
Several members of the current first-team staff have lauded Lamela in recent times, including Mourinho, who said the winger was an “amazing guy” and a “fantastic player” whilst Ledley King labelled him the “star of the show” at one stage last season.
“I like him a lot, since the moment when he was training just for two days and he told me he would help the team as best as he could before the Brighton game. I felt that the boy was really up to it, quality plus attitude. I knew that he was very important for us.”
Mourinho on Lamela
But when you’re sitting on £80k-per-week and not playing, it’s hard to justify a place at the club, especially when it puts Lamela among the top-earners – Giovani Lo Celso, Davinson Sanchez and Harry Winks are all on less and are some of the first names on the teamsheet.
The writing may well be on the wall for Lamela and that much will start to become clearer after the international break.
It’s Bale season.
AND in other news, Spurs could sign Jose Mourinho his next John Terry for just £18m…