Tottenham’s latest decision over Erik Lamela is a further sign their wide options will be limited in the first part of the season.
By the end of the transfer window Tottenham did a pretty good job considering that when the season kicked off in early August they had not signed a single player.
A goalkeeper, three defenders and a striker arrived – but there was one glaring omission… a winger.
Spurs were linked with several wingers through the summer, Wilfried Zaha, Bruma, Douglas Costa, Thomas Lemar, Keita Balde, Cengiz Under and Vincent Marcel, but managed to end up with none of them.
Against Chelsea their lack of width was evident as they struggled to break down a team happy to sit deep and defend.
Now their admission over Erik Lamela appears to be a concession they may have got it wrong.
For their need for a winger could have been boosted if the Argentine made a swift return from a hip injury which has kept him sidelined since October.
Any ‘like a new signing’ proclamation by staff would have been treated sceptically by fans, but Lamela’s return if it were to happen quickly could have justified not signing a winger in the summer.
Now it appears Lamela is no closer to a return.
He was left out of the club’s Champions League squad yesterday, indicating Spurs do not see a meaningful role for him in the first half of the season.
Tottenham do not have many wide options, and Georges-Kevin N’Koudou has not been picked to start a league game since signing last summer.
Lamela’s status suggests Tottenham may have made a big error by not pushing ahead to clinch a deal to sign a winger this past transfer window, irrespective of the quality of their other business.