Monday, January 17, 2011

Erik Lamela - The 18-year-old prodigy touted as the new Lionel Messi

The young Argentine midfielder has been the subject of a €12m offer from AC Milan while Bayern Munich are also keen on landing him.

Erik Lamela has been considered a huge promise since Barcelona expressed interest in him when he was only 12 years of age.

Incredibly, he opted to reject a move to the Spanish giants two years ago in favour of prolonging his stay in Argentina with club River Plate.

Growing up as one of the biggest talents in the world for his age group, Lamela is today only 18 but has already shown enough promise for River Plate to reject a €12m AC Milan bid for him recently.

It seems that Lamela's club are reluctant to part with him for less than €18m, and for a change, that could prove a very realistic fee.

It is hard to believe he has only started his way in the Argentine top flight, racking up three assists and two goals in 13 appearances in his first year for River. He had played twice before in previous seasons but only as a late substitute.

In one of the most important matches of the season, against fierce rivals Boca Juniors, Lamela stood out with a bravura performance in the heart of River's midfield to overshadow opposition star Juan Roman Riquelme.

Lamela, who sports the number 18 shirt, can play in centre of the park as a playmaker or an attacking midfielder, and can also be employed as a winger on both flanks.

Boasting wonderful technique, close ball control and two powerful feet, Lamela is an exceptionally creative talent who possesses the potential to unlock top class opposition defences in similar fashion to Barcelona comptatriot Lionel Messi.

He has the ability to dribble past his man, but passing remains his forte as the accuracy and power he can provide with his left foot is tremendous.

He offers composure in front of goal when stood with a chance and appears much calmer and experienced than the average player of his age.

He is also adept at taking set-pieces and is in charge of free kicks and corner kicks for his side, which is highly indicative of his technical ability.

Lamela's current shortcomings are few and far between, but he could improve his aerial ability as he is the right height to be a threat in the air if he works on this aspect of his game.

And perhaps the current missing ingredient for Lamela to become a top calibre player is speed. Quite simply, he could improve his pace and acceleration to pose a more serious threat on the counter-attack.

The sky is the limit for this immensely talented 18-year-old trickster and time will tell if he is indeed the next big thing on the world stage.

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