The times, they are a-changin' at White Hart Lane, as Tottenham Hotspur ushers in a new era in club history. The sale of Gareth Bale, the hire of Franco Baldini and the purchase of the Baldini Seven mark the beginning of a new epoch in the lilywhite side of North London.
I think this new era deserves an initialism like "BC," "AD," or "CE." How about, "AB?" Not for "After Bale," but instead for "Anno Baldini," or "in the year of Baldini."
Here, in Year One AB, Spurs supporters are already seeing the shift on the pitch, as Tottenham have secured eight clean sheets in their first nine matches, winning three straight in the Europa League, their first in the League Cup and securing 12 points from their first five Premier League matches. They have outscored opponents 20-1 in those nine matches and 5-1 in the league.
One of the major reasons, so far, has been the addition of central attacking midfielder Christian Eriksen. The 21-year-old Danish international is the true No. 10 Spurs have pined for since the departure of Luka Modric to Real Madrid a few seasons back.
Eriksen has already secured an assist in his first two Premier League appearances and a goal in his lone Europa League match, when he came off the bench and played just 26 minutes against Tromso. He's the member of the Baldini Seven most likely, in my opinion, to make an immediate and meaningful impact in the team.
But the biggest long-term impact? That will likely be by Argentine Erik Lamela. Also 21, Lamela shows the kind of skills with the ball and creativity that mark a long and fruitful career to come. He's also performing already, with two assists in all competitions, including one in just 19 minutes played against Cardiff to set up Paulinho's last-minute winner.
Which of the Baldini Seven will have the biggest long-term impact at Tottenham?
An impressive young dribbler and passer, Lamela still needs work on his play inside the box, as his slight stature makes him a less than imposing physical presence. He'll be AVB's man on the right wing for the next several years, it would seem, and his attacking will carry the day, as he isn't very defensive-minded.
But he is very, very impressive.
The new era of Tottenham football has begun. Here, in the year of Baldini, Tottenham supporters can see the present in the face of Christian Eriksen and the future in Erik Lamela. The rest of the Baldini Seven should perform for several years to come (only Roberto Soldado is over 25), but Eriksen and Lamela will shine the brightest.