Tottenham: Winger wants new contract; King backs title-chance; Alderweireld to return
Earlier in the season, it felt like Spurs tied down a player on a fresh contract every few days. Eric Dier, Christian Eriksen and Dele Alli all signed new contracts, and Erik Lamela is the latest player come out and ask for his slice of the cake.
Lamela was subject to widespread criticism under Andre Villas-Boas following his £30 million from Roma in the summer of 2013. He struggled to adapt to life in England, and was lumped into the same bracket as the likes of Roberto Soldado and Paulinho as a an example of wasted money following the sale of Gareth Bale.
However, under Mauricio Pochettino he slowly began to earn his place in the team and nailed down a spot on the right flank last season. Pochettino appreciates his work rate, and he is also very adept at stopping opposition counter attacks with cynical fouls. The Argentinian wideman said:
“I feel part of this team which is improving. I have a group of excellent team-mates and I feel very good around them.
“It would make me happy to play for more years in this shirt. Will I be the next to sign? Let’s hope so. At the moment I am thinking only of playing and about Saturday’s game against Leicester.”
With the transition to the new stadium just around the corner, it is vital that Spurs tie down their key assets ahead of a period in that could bring some financial belt tightening. That said, the exorbitant new broadcasting deal should ensure Tottenham don’t go through the same years of austerity as their neighbours Arsenal did following their stadium move. Some supporters get frustrated by Lamela’s lack of end product, but he is one of Pochettino’s reliables so is set to be around for a while longer yet.
Elsewhere, former club captain Ledley King has claimed Spurs are genuine title contenders this season. Pochettino’s side sit just a point behind Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League. Speaking to Reuters, King said:
“Everyone wanted to see how Spurs would bounce back after the end of last season and I think they’ve shown they are a team that have to be taken seriously as title contenders.
“I’ve been very impressed with them so far this season. Even when the team haven’t played to their best they’ve still managed to find a way to get a result and that’s what you need to do if you want to be a team that tries to win the league.”
Spurs host Leicester this weekend in a showdown between two of last season’s title rivals, and the Lilywhites will be keen to extract some form of revenge from the game. Images have been circulating around social media of some of the banners Leicester fans are bringing to White Hart Lane with them, so this could be a highly charged contest.
Finally, defender Toby Alderweireld is set to return to the team following a knee injury sustained at West Brom. The Belgian has been outstanding since moving to north London 15 months ago, and his return is a real boost for Pochettino. Dier has deputised at centre back in his absence, but could be set to sit out against Leicester.
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