Plymouth are set to lose another key player as Ruben Lameiras’ contract is expiring at the end of the month, and he looks destined to be playing in the Championship next season.
Both Swansea and Charlton are heavily linked with the midfielder, so the Portuguese could have a tough decision to make soon.
The 24-year-old joined The Pilgrims two years ago and played a key role in ensuring Plymouth’s survival in their first season back in League One. Despite his best efforts last term Plymouth were relegated, and he understandably rejected the offer of a new contract.
In this FLW Six Point Opinion we look at where he may end up and what he has to offer his next club.
Is he ready for the step up to the Championship?
“Absolutely, he has proved he is a class above in League One, scoring 11 and assisting nine despite playing in a struggling team.
“He is brilliant at unlocking defences and built a great partnership with Freddie Ladapo, and was a huge factor behind his 19-goal haul in the last campaign.
“In the Championship he will likely be given even more time on the ball and that could help him to really excel, particularly if he part of a team which loves to pass the ball – like Swansea.”
How would he fit into Swansea’s team?
“There is a position vacant on Swansea’s left-flank now that Dan James has moved to Man Utd, and although it isn’t Lameira’s preferred role, he could do well there.
“He is naturally left-footed so could attack to the byline and provide crosses for Oil McBurnie, who would thrive off his deliveries.
“Bersant Celina has played very well in the no.10 position since he joined but he can also play on the left. That means Steve Cooper would have a decision to make, as to get the best out of Lameiras he has to play just behind the striker.”
Would he add something different to what Charlton already have?
“He is a similar player to Joe Aribo, who looks destined to leave The Valley this season.
“That means Charlton would be in need of a goal scoring midfielder who can provide service to Lyle Taylor. Lameiras would be an ideal replacement. His pace and dribbling ability means he is a handful for defences, he invites defenders to win the ball off him which creates space for other attackers.
“Charlton lacked that creative spark and flair from their players last season, and achieved despite it. However, if they are going to be competitive and do more than simply survive next year then they need a game changer like Lameiras.”
Could he still move elsewhere?
“Lamerias reportedly turned down the opportunity to follow team-mate Graham Carey to CSKA Sofia, and it is unlikely that they are the only team interested in him.
“Other than that though there is little concrete rumour of any other team offering him a contract, despite his brilliant form last season.
“That is probably good news for Charlton and Swansea, who both will feel confident of landing his signature.”
Which club should he choose to go to?
“This is a difficult one. Swansea suit his playing style more, they play a possession-based game but are quick on the counter-attack and Lameiras would thrive playing in that style.
“Charlton, on the other hand, are a club on the up. There is a feel-good atmosphere at the club following promotion and with the news that Mehmet Dalman could take over the club’s future is looking very bright.
“Lee Bowyer is also a fantastic manager for players to work under, as evidenced by the form of players like Patrick Bauer, Aribo and Taylor. He would grant Lameiras to freedom to express himself in a Charlton shirt and that would allow the player to flourish.”
Where do you see him long-term?
“Lameiras has failed to stay at any club for a prolonged period so far in his short career.
“If he impresses in the Championship next season the club he plays for will want to keep him, but if they aren’t challenging for promotion then he could easily be at a top Championship club sooner rather than later.
“He could end up in the Premier League, but of course will have to work on some of his aspects, such as his propensity to give the ball away. But under the guidance of a good manager, he will develop and Charlton or Swansea could look back on a missed chance.”