Erik Lamela to Tottenham: Spurs' Latest Signing Should End Gareth Bale Saga
Confirming the first of what may be a flurry of moves between now and the Sept. 2 summer transfer deadline, Tottenham officially confirmed the signing of forward Erik Lamela on Friday.
The club announced that it had come to terms with Serie A side AS Roma on its official Twitter feed:
Official financial terms have not been confirmed by Spurs, but BBC Sport reported on Wednesday that Roma claimed the agreed-upon fee was £25.7 million. Tottenham have purportedly also agreed to an additional £4.2 million in bonus payments, bringing the overall cost of the transfer to about £30 million.
Charles Perrin of the Daily Express reported that the personal terms of Lamela's contract will pay him £66,000 per week. He arrived at Tottenham on Thursday to receive his physical, which he ostensibly passed considering Friday afternoon's announcement.
The 21-year-old Argentine primarily plays as an attacking forward and is one of the best one-on-one youngsters in the world.
Lamela is known for his creativity on the dribble, using his first-step quickness and top-notch coordination to set himself and teammates up for goalscoring opportunities.
He scored 15 goals and had five assists in 30 Serie A starts for Roma in 2012-13, his second season with the Italian giant. He previously spent time with River Plate in Argentina, where he emerged as a promising teenager with a flair for creating.
The move represents a best-case scenario for both sides.
Roma are receiving a massive profit from the initial €12 million (about £10.2 million) fee they initially paid for Lamela, better-known as Coco to fans and teammates.
Meanwhile, Spurs not only get a solid scorer who should find an instant starting spot, but this confirmation should finally allow them to move on from the saga that's captured their whole summer.
Of course, I'm insinuating that the move should clinch Gareth Bale's oft-rumored transfer to Real Madrid. Tottenham have been deep in negotiations with the Spanish power throughout the summer about the 24-year-old Welshman's services, with fits coming almost the entire way.
Despite Real Madrid backing up the Brink's truck to the tune of a world-record transfer fee, Spurs have dragged their feet.
There have been moments in each of the past two months where the deal looked imminent, only for radio silence to come from both parties.
Bale has not shown up for training or any matches this season while awaiting resolution. Sky Sports has reported that Spurs are holding off on the deal until they feel comfortable—a sentiment that's begun eating at prominent members of the La Liga giant.
"I think [Bale will move to Madrid], but I couldn’t swear on it," Real Madrid vice president Fernando Fernandez Tapias told Metro's Hannah Duncan. "We’re going to wait because they are dragging their feet."
From a talent perspective, it's hard to blame Spurs for their hesitance.
A transfer from Southampton in 2007, Bale was long seen as a potential superstar in Tottenham despite what at times felt like a never-ending learning curve. The winger showed increasing flashes of greatness during his early years at White Hart Lane, but could never quite put it all together and become the superstar fans were promised.
That is, until last season. Tottenham's patience finally paid off in 2012-13 when Bale scored 21 goals in 34 Premier League starts, placing him among the best in the world despite not having a ton of talent surrounding him.
With only one season of true repayment on their investment, who could blame Tottenham management for being a little wary?
Even if paying Cristiano Ronaldo prices for a player with one year of elite play under his belt may or may not be insane (it totally is), there comes an emotional investment after a half-decade together.
But as Spurs announce their latest signing in Coco, it's become increasingly clear the club simply wanted to get its ducks in a row before jettisoning its best player.
The impending financial windfall of Bale's transfer has been the overarching root cause of a summer spending spree.
With Lamela's move to White Hart Lane, André Villas-Boas' spending has reached more than £90 million—far and away the most in club history. According to Duncan, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger even went as far as to call their spending into question, saying the roster may become "unbalanced."
Led by chairman Daniel Levy, Tottenham's ownership group has opened the purse strings in recent years in hopes of bringing the club into the Premier League elite.
Can Tottenham compete for a Champions League berth without Gareth Bale?
As the club travels to Emirates Stadium Sunday for a critical early-season tie versus Arsenal, it has looked at once top-notch and in desperate need of goalscoring punch.
With Bale having no interest in a return, that onus now falls on Lamela. At age 21, he's not too dissimilar to the player Spurs got in Bale over a half-decade ago. He's extremely talented, with room to grow into a superstar, but questions remain about his ability to subsist in the world's most competitive club setting.
Spurs better hope Coco can acclimate fast, because with the announcement of his signing on Friday, Bale should be mere hours from finally realizing his Madrid destiny.
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