Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood has conceded Erik Lamela and Etienne Capoue are unlikely to play again this season.
The pair arrived at White Hart Lane in the close-season but have struggled to make an impression, with injuries not helping their attempts to settle in England.
Winger Lamela has not featured in 2014, having been troubled by a back problem, while an ankle injury has kept midfielder Capoue out for several weeks.
Assessing the fitness of Lamela, Sherwood is reported as saying in the British media: “He’s probably not going to play this season. He’s been out a very long time; he’s going to need a pre-season before he can play.
“He’s been unfortunate with injuries and it’s a shame that he’s picked up the knocks because, taking the settling-in period aside, how are you meant to settle when you can’t go out there and perform because you’ve had this serious back injury?”
Asked about Capoue, the 45-year-old added: “I am not sure how far he is away, but it is very doubtful whether he will play between now and the end of the season.”
Lamela and Capoue were among a host of players brought in by Tottenham prior to the current campaign who had not previously experienced the Premier League.
Sherwood, who only took charge of the club in December, has stated a preference for targeting players familiar with England’s top flight, citing Everton’s recent business as a good example to follow.
Roberto Martinez significantly bolstered his squad at the beginning of September, agreeing loan deals for Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry, who have both impressed, and also capturing midfielder James McCarthy from Wigan Athletic.
“You can buy someone who’s never played in the Premier League and he comes over and is a revelation but it’s more of a risk doing that,” Sherwood added.
“Premier League experience for me would be key. If you want to look at any team you’ve got to look at Everton and what they’ve done in the transfer market, it is second to none.
“They got Gareth Barry, with 534 games or whatever it is in the Premier League. Romelu Lukaku was the best young player last season. The acquisition of James McCarthy.
“On deadline day they looked like an average side but all of a sudden they make three signings and it has turned them into what they are now.”
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