Erik Lamela might have played his final game for Tottenham Hotspur, with hip surgery set to end his season and the club open to selling him in the summer. The Argentina winger began the campaign in promising fashion but he has since been derailed by problems on and off the pitch.
Lamela has not played since 25 October because of the hip problem, which has frustrated medics at Tottenham and Roma, his former club – to where he travelled for treatment in January. He has also had to contend with the trauma of his brother being seriously injured in an accident in their native Argentina. That necessitated Lamela making a week-long trip back home in early December.
The 25-year-old, who arrived from Roma in the summer of 2013 for a club‑record £30m, will have two years to run on his contract in the summer and it is understood that Tottenham would consider an offer for him. Internazionale have expressed an interest while Milan are monitoring the situation.
Lamela was a regular starter on the right in Mauricio Pochettino’s 4-2-3-1 formation in the early months of the season but the manager’s switch to 3-4-2-1 would appear to have made it harder for him to force his way back in. One thing is clear. Lamela would not be sold on the cheap as the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, is loth to take a loss on any player.
Lamela sustained his injury in training and, initially, it was not thought to be too serious but it has failed to respond to treatment. Pochettino’s assistant, Jesús Pérez, described it in January as a “small problem in Lamela’s hip with a tiny muscle” and the club said in a statement on Wednesrday that, after much deliberation, it would need an operation. He will undergo the procedure in Spain on Saturday.
“Lamela has undergone a comprehensive rehabilitation process following the injury in November,” the statement read. “The player has achieved a good level of function – however, he has been unable to reach the stage required to make a full return to training. Therefore, following ongoing extensive consultation with specialists, surgery has been agreed by all as the best course of action. This will result in Erik returning to action next season.”
Levy has suggested that the club could continue playing at White Hart Lane next season. Tottenham have until Friday to activate their option to play at Wembley after their application to host 27 matches at the stadium’s full 90,000 capacity was approved. Yet Levy has revealed the club are seeking “greater certainty” that their new 61,000‑seat stadium will be ready in time for the 2018‑19 campaign.
Tottenham could therefore stay at their current ground next season and play home games at Wembley the following year, before moving into the new stadium for the 2019‑20 campaign.
In a statement alongside Tottenham’s latest financial results on the club website, Levy said: “We continue to focus on ensuring that the future of the club is protected at all times. Therefore, whilst everyone is eager to know if this is our last season at the Lane, we shall only make the decision to decommission our historic White Hart Lane when we have greater certainty on the delivery of the new stadium.
“Our performances on the pitch and the sight of our new stadium taking shape signifies an exciting future. As we move forward with the challenges ahead, I firmly believe that the positive outlook, unity and togetherness across the club, the team and the fans means we can look forward with optimism.”
Tottenham revealed record revenue of £209.8m for the year ending 30 June 2016, and profit after interest and tax of £33m, up from £9.4m the previous year.