Transfer Talk: Will the life of Bryan be better for Spurs than Lamela?
Tottenham’s pursuit of their transfer targets is reaching fever pitch — and it is only going to get more frenzied as the Premier League season draws into view.
Links to centre-backs Takehiro Tomiyasu and Cristian Romero have emerged in recent days, while the club are set to sign Atalanta goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini on loan.
Spurs are also believed to be finalising a deal that would see them part with £22million and Erik Lamela in return for highly-rated Sevilla winger Bryan Gil.
It would be a significant outlay for the 20-year-old prospect but would the Premier League side be getting the better end of the bargain?
A generational talent
LaLiga expert David Cartilage has little doubt the fleet-footed Spaniard is a star in the making.
He said: "I truly believe there is only Pedri and Ansu Fati ahead of Gil as it stands, in terms of players in Spain who are young and of potential. He really is that good."
Cartilage has compared him to Jack Grealish but there are also some significant similarities between Gil and Wolves star Pedro Neto.
The Portuguese was a key player for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side last season, catching the eye with his dazzling displays on the left flank.
It is rare to see attackers being deployed on their stronger side but Nuno is one of the fewer managers to favour this.
Gil, like Neto, loves to carry the ball and is brilliant in one-on-one situations.
If the former Wolves tactician is looking to replicate the style that brought him so much success at Molineux, a player like Gil could be pivotal.
An unpolished diamond
Gil spent the 2020-21 LaLiga campaign on loan with Eibar.
The Spanish starlet appeared in 28 matches and racked up more than 2,000 minutes of top-flight action, finishing the season with four goals and three assists.
But his assist tally could have, and probably should have, been greater.
The pass map below highlights how often Gil got the ball into the opposition’s penalty area.
What is really striking is these passes originate from all over the final third and are not exclusive to just the left flank.
While a lot failed to find a team-mate, a little refinement to his delivery should increase the number of chances he creates.
With better forwards to supply the ammunition for, you can expect his output to spike in North London.
What could have been
When Tottenham paid the best part of £26m to bring Lamela to White Hart Lane in 2013, they viewed him as the man who could eventually succeed Gareth Bale.
At the time, he was the club’s record buy and it was considered a statement signing, with the Argentine coming off the back of a 15-goal season with Roma.
But Lamela was never able to show that form in the Premier League — in fact, he has just 17 league goals to his name across eight seasons.
Injuries played their part, while he also suffered from Tottenham changing their manager during his debut season in England.
He was never part of Mauricio Pochettino’s favoured line-up but the Spurs No11 did show glimpses of his talent, like his Goal of the Season against Arsenal last term.
In truth, those moments of skill were far and few between and he has yet to come close to fulfilling his potential in the capital.
A fresh start
Lamela could try to get his Tottenham career on track under a new coach — but the man from Buenos Aires is a poor fit for Nuno.
As mentioned earlier, the Portuguese tinkerer prefers to deploy his attackers on their stronger sides. He wants them to be creators and not scorers.
Lamela, 29, is always eager to get into central areas, regardless of where he is starting. After all, on his day, he is a genuine goal threat.
Forcing him to play there makes very little sense for everyone involved.
A second chance
Tottenham always wanted a long-term successor to Bale on the left. Lamela did not work out as planned but Gil could.
They need to bring in players to suit Nuno's style and philosophy — and that box is ticked with Gil.
For Sevilla, it seems like an odd deal. They are letting one of the best talents in Spain leave, pocketing £20m and getting a player who turns 30 this year in return.
But this is how the LaLiga side operate and it is one of the reasons they have been so successful over the years.
The Andalusian outfit have a knack for finding undervalued talent and giving their careers a second chance.
Both teams will feel like winners if this deal goes ahead.