Willian or Erik Lamela?

With the transfer window rapidly closing, Tottenham Hotspur seem to be the club with the most on their mind. Gareth Bale looks to be departing (although nothing is certain) for a record £93 million, as reports suggest. If that is the case, Andre Villas-Boas will certainly have plenty of money to play around with, and despite already breaking Tottenham’s record transfer fee twice this window, he may yet decide to break it at least once more. Whether the Welsh wizard leaves or not, AVB has taken a keen interest in Roma’s Erik Lamela and Anzhi Makhachkala’s Willian. Those two players are certainly interesting targets, however with their enormous price tags and very little time left in the transfer window, AVB may have to settle for just one. If that is the case, which one?

One thing that shouldn’t really be taken into account is the transfer fee. If Bale does leave, that transfer fee would be much less than their profit from the sale. And even if the Welshman decides he wants to stay, both players are reportedly worth approximately £30 million, so their price will be relatively the same. So, to further grasp their worth, a look at their playing ability is needed.

One place the Lilywhites should look to improve is their goal scoring ability. Last season Gareth Bale led the charts with 21 goals, which is an outstanding display but serves to show how badly Tottenham needed another player who could score goals. New man Roberto Soldado should supply a good amount of goals, but it would be unfair to assume that he would be such a significant upgrade that Tottenham’s scoring troubles would be completely behind them. Between Lamela and Willian, the Argentine is better in this category. Lamela scored a solid 15 goals for Roma in the 2012/13 season, while Willian only scored 7 goals in all competitions. Considering Willian is currently playing in a lower standard league than Lamela, this particularly highlights the Argentine’s goal scoring prowess.

However, it’s not all about goals. In the last season with Roma, Lamela managed to conjure only 5 assists. In the Brazilian’s case, despite only making 4 appearances for his club this season he has already accumulated 3 assists. In fact, if you take the most recent season for Willian and the whole 2012/13 season for Lamela, the difference is quite noticeable (according to whoscored.com). The Brazilian averages 4 key passes per match, whereas Lamela only has 1.7. In dribbling, Willian maintains that advantage, as he makes 4.3 per game with a success rate of 68%, contrasted to Lamela’s 3 per game with a success rate of 46.9%. This clearly shows that despite the latter’s efficiency at scoring goals, he may not be the man suitable to create them, or do much else other than score goals. Against Crystal Palace there was a distinct lack of actual chances being made, with Lennon and Walker combining well, but being generally ineffective in turning good play into goal scoring opportunities. If Willian is on Tottenham’s roster by the end of the transfer window, expect him to be dangerous in creating chances as well as scoring a few himself.

Tottenham aren’t the only club to see the value of having a player like Willian though, as Liverpool are seen to be the lilywhite’s main rival in securing his signature. Now, the Spurs have been good at stealing Liverpool targets recently, but gambling on Brendan Rogers not bidding for the transfer listed Brazilian is a risk that Spurs could be better off not taking by purchasing Erik Lamela instead. That doesn’t mean that AVB should just back off though does it?

It’s a very tricky conundrum Tottenham have been placed into, and AVB has the opportunity to show the world how good of a manager he can be if he can handle this situation right. But one thing is for certain, if Gareth Bale is sold and neither of these players is bought (or someone of a similar caliber), Spurs will have a hard time getting into those Champion’s League spots. What do you think? Is Willian or Erik Lamela more valuable?

Which would be better in AVB’s side? Have your say in the comments below.

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