May 1, 2013 by backofthenetjl
Erik Lamela is one of the most promising young talents in the world; at the age of 21 we have already seen many moments of brilliance from this technically gifted Argentine. Lamela has been in fine form for Roma this season, and now a host of European heavyweights are keen on landing the youngster.
Lamela began his footballing journey at River Plate; one of the most popular clubs in Argentina and has since moved on to Serie A outfit Roma, where he has well and truly excelled. Argentina have been host to some wonderful footballers, namely Lionel Messi, Gabriel Batistuta and Diego Maradona, and it would be right to say that this highly-rated playmaker could be their next big thing.
After starting off in the Youth team at the Argentinian outfit, it was no long before Lamela progressed up to the Elite squad; he made his debut for the Club in 2009 against Tigre. The following season was when Lamela really broke into the side; he played 34 games that season and popped up with a few goals; though it was his series of excellent displays which caught the eye of many clubs.
But Roma were the club who followed up that interest with a bid and on 6th August 2011, the move was completed and Lamela would open a new chapter in his career; a chapter in which he could increase his development even further and grants him first-team opportunities in Europe.
Style, strengths and weaknesses:
As soon as you watch Lamela, it’s evident to see his qualities and abilities. He predominantly plays as a right-sided player who cuts inside on his cultured left-foot, though due to his versatility he is able to be as effective in a number of roles, particularly behind the striker.
Lamela is known for his superb close control and exceptional dribbling ability; this enables him to beat players with ease to find that little bit of space for a shot. Another quality he possesses is an enormous amount of pace; pace is almost essential for an attacking player and he has a good amount of pace and when you combine that with his trickery, you get a glimpse of what sort of playing style he has. Long distance shooting can be seen as a rare trait in modern football, but it’s certainly something Lamela can do in the most confident and stylish manner. On many occasions you will see him try his luck from distance and more often than not, the ball ends up in the back of the net. The Accuracy he has in his shooting on that left-foot is almost impeccable.
By no means is Lamela a player who only likes to dribble and shoot, he is much more than that, evidence of this is in his phenomenal vision; vision in which he applies to unlock the meanest of defences. He sees the pass that nobody else sees; it’s as if he is on a level of his own sometimes. He will always look for the defence-splitting pass, meaning he registers himself quite a few assists each season he plays. Of course no player is perfect and neither is Lamela and so he like the vast majority of other players, he has his weaknesses. His clear weakness is that he does not contribute defensively to his team; he simply does not want to run back and win back the ball, he wants to collect the ball and ultimately make things happen, this is understandable, but if he is to become one of the very best around, he must improve on his defensive qualities.
Lamela has performed excellently this season and his statistics are equally as impressive, he has scored 15 goals and registered 3 assists in 29 appearances; something I believe to be quite commendable for a player who usually operates as a winger. Moreover, he has also created a total of 51 chances; proving his ability to construct chances from any areas on the field. Another stat which gives proof of Lamela’s qualities is his pass accuracy, which stands at 82%; which is mightily impressive for a winger and demonstrates that he is able to find team-mates with effortlessness. Lamela has also averaged around 30.8 key passes this season, again indicating his quality on the ball and passing range. Another remarkable statistic is that Lamela’s performance rating on WhoScored is 7.67; signifying that he is the second-highest rated Roma player this season. That is perfect proof of how massively important he is to La Maggica.
When you look at the performances Lamela has produced this season, it’s no surprise that many clubs are in pursuit of him. Teams such as Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Manchester United have shown an interest in him and you sense that Lamela himself would relish the prospect of playing for such clubs. There’s no doubt that since his move to Roma, he has improved massively as a footballer, but Roma cannot offer Champions League football at the moment, so it may be time for him to move on to bigger and better things.
Obviously staying at Roma is still a possibility, but they are club still who have a plan which is still in working progress and the constant change in managers is not helping their cause. It’s a players dream to play in such an illustrious competition like the Champions League, and seen as though Roma are not in a position to secure Champions League football, it is likely he will eventually move on. I personally feel that Lamela will leave Italy in the summer, but I am unsure about what club he will move to; England seems to be the most likely option. Should Lamela depart the Stadio Olimpico, it would take a pretty hefty price tag to lure away Roma’s prize asset.
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