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Tottenham legend Ossie Ardiles believes new signing Erik Lamela has the potential to become even more important to the side than Gareth Bale.
Lamela arrived at White Hart Lane from Roma for a club record £30million and has made a bright start to life in England, providing two assists in his opening five games meaning he could well have earned a start against West Ham on Sunday.
The transfer was largely funded by Bale’s world-record move to Real Madrid, as Andre Villas-Boas heavily invested in his squad, with the likes of Paulinho, Roberto Soldado and Christian Eriksen all arriving at White Hart Lane.
Ardiles himself spent an extremely successful spell with the Lilywhites, winning both the 1981 FA Cup and 1984 UEFA Cup during his initial 10-year spell at the club and even came back to manage Tottenham in 1993.
Although Lamela isn’t as powerful as Bale, he certainly comes with plenty of talent and looks like he could be the man to add the extra intelligence and guile that the north Londoners missed at times last season as they eventually finished fifth.
The 1978 World Cup winner has now backed his compatriot to have a big impact at the club and believes the “new Messi” could become even more crucial than the man he has replaced.
“Lamela needs a little more time to bed into Tottenham but he will prove to be a great purchase,” said Ardiles. “He is not as powerful but he is more skilled than Bale.
“He has been nicknamed the “new Messi” and that’s right – it’s a sign of how talented he is.”