Should Tottenham Hotspur sell off their promising academy stars to buy expensive foreign imports?

Robert Cianflone

Caulker out, Livermore out. Now Townsend out, Lamela in? Is this the best policy for Spurs' youth?

Everybody knows AVB hates our young English players. He's already sold Steven "Ledley King" Caulker and loaned out Jake "Luka Modric" Livermore. Now rumors have surfaced that Andros Townsend could be following them through the exit door, much to the dismay of many Tottenham Hotspur supporters.

But another rumor has also started to spread, one that fans are decidedly more in favor of. Another record fee could see Erik Lamela at White Hart Lane as Spurs desperately attempt to strengthen in a bid to keep Bale at the club (and while it makes entirely more sense for Lamela to be coming in as a Bale replacement rather than teammate, let's ignore that for a moment).

With four wingers on the books, Lamela ain't coming unless somebody makes way. In a perfect world, we hold on to Bale. So who do we sell off instead? Let's say Lamela's arrival requires selling off Andros Townsend. Should we do it?

On the one hand, we've got a dazzling academy prospect who lit up the Premier League in a terrible QPR team while on loan last season. He's a pacey dribbler with phenomenal ball skills and a keen eye for goal. He's been at Spurs since he was a kid and will love the shirt in a way that nobody raised outside the club could ever match. He even trolls Gooners on Twitter. He's Tottenham through and through. And if he stays, he'll absolutely be in contention for plenty of first team minutes.

But he's already a year older than Lamela and has had significantly less opportunity to develop. Lamela already has almost 100 top flight appearances in his time at River Plate in Argentina and Roma in Serie A.

Townsend has 17.

Meanwhile, Lamela is coming off a 15 goal season that saw him named in the Serie A team of the year. And while it's entirely possible that Townsend could have hit those heights by the time he was 21 if he had been given the same chances, with established internationals of the caliber of Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon ahead of him, that was never going to happen.

So what next?

Do we take a shot on the hometown hero and let the local boy come good? Or do we move him on for a player who may have the exact same ceiling he does, but who is undoubtedly closer to reaching it?

When Spurs sold off Caulker a few weeks ago, Spurs fans went into meltdown mode about Levy hocking the club's future for pennies on the dollar (pence on the pound? i don't know how your money works, i'm sorry). But what if we bring in another Vertonghen to replace him? Is it worth it? Do we need to give Tom Carroll a chance if we can just buy Thiago Alcantara instead?

We love our local heroes. Ledley King is forever a legend. We made him and he was ours in a way that nobody else has been in decades. When he retired this summer, the club lost something. Something you can't replace in the transfer market. In a world where player loyalty is increasingly rare, to know that the players we love love us and Tottenham the same way is magical. We need these kinds of heroes.

But do we need it more than success on the pitch, more than the Champions League? Michael Dawson isn't Spurs born and raised, but he sure feels like it. If Lamela stays for eight years, would he be any less a legend than if Townsend had taken up the same mantle? Some of our greatest heroes came from beyond these shores. Ossie. Ricky. What if he pisses off to Barcelona in a few years? He wouldn't be the first to only dazzle us for a little while. Ginola. Klinnsman.

What if every single academy player from now on develops into a promising young star, we sell them, and buy someone possibly better? Are we selling the soul of the club? Does it matter?

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