Daniel Levy must heed the call after Noel Whelan urged Jose Mourinho to sell Erik Lamela following Serie A interest in the Tottenham Hotspur outcast this summer.
While speaking with Football Insider, former Leeds United striker Whelan has advised Spurs to consider cashing in on Lamela’s services, having only seen the Argentine start seven Premier League games since Mourinho arrived.
Lamela has also found himself pushed further down the pecking order with the arrivals of Gareth Bale and Carlos Vinicius this summer, making it obvious that Mourinho does not hold much expectation of the 28-year-old’s worth.
The Portuguese tactician has only started Lamela in two top-flight fixtures this term and also opted to omit the winger from as many matchday squads, with Lamela without a league goal since Mauricio Pochettino was sacked and boasting just two assists under Mourinho.
And with Lucas Moura and Steven Bergwijn also to hand, Whelan feels Mourinho is leaving Spurs with no choice but to cash-in on Lamela in 2021 to free up some funds, with the forward – who was signed for £25.7million to replace Bale in 2013 – out of contract in 19-months.
“He’s been at Tottenham a hell of a long time now, and he’s always been one of these players that is a go-to from the bench,” Whelan said. “He’s had short spells when he’s been a starter in the side, more so with Mauricio Pochettino.
“He’s the sort of player that, on his day, can be a world-beater. He can score great goals, he’s fantastic with the ball on the deck, great pace, good eye for a pass.
“It’s a catch 22 situation. If he’s desperately needed by Jose Mourinho, then they should think about getting a new contract on the table for him. If he’s not in Jose Mourinho’s plans and they feel they want a fresher person in that position, then you do have to cash in. It’s as simple as that.
“Lamela has still got a lot to offer a football team and could get regular game time, so you’ll get more money from him now then in another year’s time.”
With Lamela failing to score in any of his 21 Premier League appearances under Mourinho and only offering three goals across all competitions, the Argentine is leaving Spurs chief Levy with an easy decision to heed Whelan’s call and search for potential suitors.
Levy will be well aware that Whelan’s forecast is true with Lamela set to be a free agent in 2022 once his £80,000-per-week contract expires gradually reducing his market value, while his performances when on the field have already seen a one-quarter drop in the past year alone.
TransferMarkt valued Lamela at £19.8m when Mourinho arrived in north London to replace Pochettino, yet now consider the 28-year-old to be worth £14.4m – the lowest grade since 2012 – given his struggles under the Portuguese.
Levy had options to consider in the summer regarding Lamela’s future, with transfer expert Fabrizio Romano revealing on the Last Word On Spurs podcast that Serie A sides were interested in a deal but the winger had other thoughts.
“We have some interest from Italian clubs but the player is happy at Tottenham,” he said. “He is convinced that next season he can do something good. So, it’s not so easy to see him out from Tottenham.”
It remains to be seen what work Levy can do in hopes of pushing Lamela out the door, as it clear Mourinho will not be seeing anything good from the former AS Roma man anytime soon.