Super Mario in Spurs switch with lacklustre Lamela
Italian reports suggest that Tottenham have offered their £30m summer signing Erik Lamela an escape route, in the hope of luring firebrand forward Mario Balotelli in a swap deal from struggling AC Milan.
Arsenal (15/2 to win the Premier League) had looked the front runners to sign the former Manchester City maverick, but it seems their north London rivals (7/2 just to finish in the top four) now have the edge with the Argentine winger as bait, plus £10m.
Lamela was supposed to be the player to replace Gareth Bale last summer, after his world record transfer, but has instead regularly found himself on the bench. He is currently out injured – since early January with a back problem – and has managed to play just nine times in the league, getting one assist and scoring none.
The 21-year-old has fared slightly better in the Europa League, however, scoring once and setting up three in six matches, but it seems Tim Sherwood and Spurs are losing patience and willing to let him go. Spurs just came through their last 32 tie with Dnipro 3-2 on aggregate and are now 15/2 to win the competition.
Argentina international Lamela has previous experience in Serie A for Roma, and last season managed an impressive 15 goals in 33 league games, so the potential switch could be very interesting for Milan as they hope to build for next term.
Balotelli, however, is having a miserable time with his new club, having joined Milan the January before last, as the 18-time Italian top-flight champions sit way back in ninth and a massive 22 points behind Lamela’s former club (in second place) – who have a game in hand.
Personally, the Italy international has been in fine form, under the circumstances, by scoring 10 times in 18 league games so far, and is one of the few players to shine.
Clarence Seedorf’s side are favourites to be knocked out of the Champions League against Atletico Madrid after their 1-0 first leg loss, with their opponents odds-on at 1/2 to progress. And as Milan look likely to miss out on Europe altogether for next season, Balotelli may decide it is time to return to England.
Spurs have certainly been missing fire-power this term, with Roberto Soldado – linked with a move to Atletico – scoring just 10 times (half of which were penalties). The club have netted just 36 in 27 league games. Diego Costa was recently rumoured to be a part of the the deal involving Soldado.