When Gareth Bale left Tottenham Hotspur in an £85 million deal to join Real Madrid in 2013, it prompted a significant summer of spending for the North Londoners.
Seven players were brought in to theoretically take Spurs on another level, but seven years on, only one remains.
Erik Lamela was arguably the most direct replacement for Bale; left-footed, a splash of flair, and he even inherited the Welshman’s number 11 shirt.
Coming off the back of a superb season in Serie A with Roma, in which he notched 15 league goals, it was expected that he would provide the firepower from deep to support Spanish striker Roberto Soldado, another big-money acquisition.
However, as the 2019-20 season finally draws to a close, Lamela took the time to reflect on being the only surviving member of the ‘magnificent seven’ at Tottenham.
“Honestly, I did not think I would stay this many years,” Lamela told Sky Sports.
“But now I feel very good. I am enjoying it, I feel motivated and I feel part of the team here.
“I love the people at the training ground.
“I am almost one of the longest players to be here, no?”
A point or more against Leicester City on Sunday would see Tottenham move back into the top six of the Premier League, and Lamela was keen to express the importance of securing European football next term.
“We know that we have to play in the Europa League,” he said.
“It is very important for the club, for the fans and for the players. For everyone here.”
Despite his lengthy stay, there is still a feeling that fans haven’t seen the very best of the Argentinian during a period of highs and lows in his career.
He is now better known for his work ethic than his dribbling, a trait which makes him a favourite of current Spurs boss Jose Mourinho, even if he doesn’t start every match.
Lamela reserved praise for the Portuguese and insisted that he is taking the club in the right direction, after a difficult campaign which saw the departure of the popular Mauricio Pochettino from the dugout.
If Tottenham can finish on a high, then it could provide a decent platform from which to build next term.
- Mikel Arteta hails Arsenal’s post-international break renaissance
- Man City pair set to miss crucial fixtures against Chelsea, Liverpool and PSG
- Who are the fastest players and 5-star skillers on FIFA 22?
- Robert Lewandowski dedicates his Golden Shoe award to his Bayern Munich teammates
- Reading set for points deduction