Erik Lamela has arrived at the crossroads of his Tottenham career

Tottenham purchased Erik Lamela to help fill the void left by Gareth Bale‘s departure. This season may be the year the talented Argentine does so. 

Erik Lamela was originally sold to Tottenham fans as the attacker who could replace Gareth Bale. That is never going to be the Argentine’s reality, but he could finally become a star this season for Spurs.

You’ll have to forgive some Tottenham fans for rolling their eyes when they read that last sentence. Lamela’s inability to stay healthy has become an annual occurrence in North London. He’s suffered more mysterious ailments than either he or the club would care to admit. First and foremost, he needs to show durability this year if he is going to finally ascend to stardom.

If he can stay healthy for a full season, he may never have a better opportunity to cement his place in Mauricio Pochettino’s starting XI. There’s quite a bit of potential upheaval in Tottenham’s attacking midfield at the moment. Christian Eriksen‘s status with the club is certainly up in the air. A horde of so-called body language experts on social media believe the Dane is desperate to leave the club. That may or may not be true, but it’s obvious that Spurs are at least considering the sale of last year’s starting No. 10.

Even if Eriksen stays, the latest recurrence of Dele Alli’s hamstring injury will open up playing time for Lamela. According to The Guardian, Dele will definitely miss the start of the Premier League season. That is a net negative for Spurs, but it will gift Lamela a golden opportunity to start the campaign on the right foot.

Anyone who has paid close attention to Tottenham in the preseason can see that Lamela is doing everything in his power to impress his manager. He’s arguably been Tottenham’s top player when you look at their preseason on the whole. It would be a major surprise if he doesn’t find his way into the club’s starting XI against Aston Villa in their Premier League opener.

If he continues to play the way he has during the preseason against Villa, he could become very difficult to dislodge from the starting XI. Lamela has the advantage of being one of Pochettino’s most unique players. There aren’t many attacking midfielders in Europe who show Lamela’s thirst for winning the ball back from the opponent. Pochettino admires his countryman’s willingness to impose his physicality at the top of his high press. There isn’t another member of Tottenham’s squad who shows the same voracity at that spot on the pitch.

In truth, Lamela needs for this to be his best season in a Spurs shirt. If he can’t prove his value to the club this year, he may be on the chopping block next summer. It may, in fact, be now or never for Lamela at Tottenham. He’s a player Spurs fans should watch closely as their Premier League season begins.