Former Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini has revealed the club were forced into selling Erik Lamela to Tottenham in 2013 after Napoli failed with their attempts to sign the winger.
Lamela was one of seven incomings at Spurs during that summer after the world record sale of Gareth Bale, with the Argentine having showcased two impressive seasons with Roma.
Lamela joined the club for a total £30 million fee (BBC Sport) and would go on to spend eight years in North London in what was a career blighted by injuries.
But Tottenham’s signing of Lamela, who departed the club for Sevilla last summer, came without difficulty after he also had suitors across Italy in the form of Napoli.
The Partenopei, led by manager Aurelio De Laurentiis at the time, pursued Lamela hard and even offered his father a commission worth £1.6 million (€2m) in a desperate attempt to seal a move.
Then Roma chief Sabatini believes Napoli’s actions in turn forced the exit of their prised youngster, but the club eventually sided with selling him to Spurs instead.
He said (via Area Napoli): “We would never have thought of selling Erik, but factors intervened that made us change our mind. His sale brought us pain, but by the time we made the decision, the player had an unparalleled offer.
“When Lamela was attacked by an Italian club [Napoli], which made him an offer of 3.5 million-plus a commission to his father of 2 million, we had lost the player.
“I spoke to the agent, telling him that I would raise our offer, but he wasn’t very convinced. I saw him turned off, I thought I could not fully recover him, so I set up the idea of selling him. This is football, uncontrollable.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Tottenham’s move for Lamela was one of the most exciting at the time as he had come off a really excellent season for Roma.
Unfortunately, his time at Spurs didn’t exactly go to plan with injuries making it very difficult for him for the most part, although he always played his heart out for the badge.
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