3rd April 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
Erik Lamela's tremendously frustrating 2016 2017 season has now officially been drawn to a premature close. After his sterling efforts in the 2015/2016 campaign, he started this term in equally strong fashion. Having played a pivotal role in Tottenham Hotspur's monumental victory over a previously undefeated Manchester City outfit in October, plus consolidated his place in Mauricio Pochettino's plans with solid performances domestically and in the Champions League, everything came to a grinding halt on the 25th of October last year. In Spurs' EFL cup loss to Liverpool, a game where Lamela came on as substitute for the last 30 minutes, it was discovered that he'd suffered a nasty hip injury, despite running out the match.

The skillful Argentine disappointingly hasn't played since that fateful day, instead he's been condemned to receiving treatment that's been ultimately unsuccessful. Although trying many different options, including arduous treatment from the club's medical department and a trip to former club Roma for further opinion and rehabilitation, the pain still wouldn't dissipate for the languid attacking midfielder.

Finally, just last week, the club and the player came to the decision that surgery was now the best option, in the hope he'll be back and fully firing for next season. "Erik Lamela is to undergo surgery on his hip on Saturday. This will result in Erik returning to action next season. The Argentina international has undergone a comprehensive rehabilitation process following the injury," read a club statement.

"The player has achieved a good level of function, however, he has been unable to reach the stage required to make a full return to training. Therefore, following ongoing extensive consultation with specialists, surgery has been agreed by all as the best course of action."

It's hard not to feel a sense that the situation has been somewhat mismanaged, for not only have his attempted therapies failed, but he hasn't played any football at all thereafter his diagnosis at the end of October.

To make matters worse, the timing of his injury was particularly terrible, as the man who arrived for £30 million from Roma in 2013, that had been heavily derided until last season's breakout campaign for Spurs, was finally an undisputed starter for the North London outfit.

Due to the lack of public communication from the club and the player, rumours began circulating that maybe he could be a prime candidate to be picked up as a cut price transfer in the summer. Reports suggested Inter Milan were interested in capitalising on his predicament, but Pochettino recently spoke out in anger about such speculation. "That was so strange to hear. In the media Lamela is linked with different clubs -- it's difficult for me to understand," he insisted.

"It's a player who has not played since October. And all that he is suffering in the last four or five months -- do you think that he is thinking to move? That he is thinking to go to Italy? He is very happy here.

"The problems he has... he was desperate, and the club was desperate, to find the solution. But it made me laugh every time I heard all that in the media. Because it is impossible for him, impossible for the club, impossible for his agent, impossible for his people, to think about moving. Where?"

Having caught a plane to Barcelona to undergo his operation on Saturday, the 25-year-old will now begin his journey to get back to full fitness. He'll be desperate to return and get back to his best, for on his day, there's not many better wide attackers in Europe.

Blessed with pace, sensational technical qualities, including his sublime, mazy dribbling ability and an advanced passing repertoire, Lamela's a massive handful for any opponent to face off against. Add in his intelligent understanding of space and his exceptional pressing exertions, and all of the aforementioned parlay to make him a fantastic embodiment of his manager's aggressive, intense philosophy.

As he enters the peak years of career, it'll be expected the former River Plate prodigy will come back completely recovered and ready to have a huge impact next term.

There'd be no better way to cancel out the heartache of this season than hitting the ground running in perfect health for the start of next season.