Transfer analysis: Fury at Roma as Erik Lamela - 'the heir to Francesco Totti' - nears move to Tottenham

Argentina international expected to complete £30m move to White Hart Lane and - unlike Willian - comes with the guarantee of goals

Even in the Eternal City in which political and religious leaders reside, Roma captain Francesco Totti’s declarations are still taken as gospel by the giallorosso side of the capital. “I hope [Erik] Lamela will be my heir,” confessed the legendary playmaker during the Argentine youngster’s debut season in Italy. The remark is poignant now that the club is on the verge of losing the winger to Tottenham Hotspur.

Roma director of sport Walter Sabatini employed his extensive contacts in South America to orchestrate Lamela’s transfer from a relegated River Plate in the summer of 2011 for £15m including bonuses.

‘Coco’ was renowned for his electrifying pace and dribbling abilities in Buenos Aires long before the Italian outfit secured his signature, however. He featured extensively in the local media as a teenager while in the Millonarios academy and sporting a blonde ponytail. The gifted winger made his first appearance for the Argentine national team in May before making the switch to the peninsula in August.

Lamela initially suffered under Luis Enrique as the Spanish tactician attempted to impose a ‘tiki-taka’ style after transitioning from Barcelona B coach to Roma manager. The forward was unable to execute his famed darting runs suited to a more counter-attacking formation then the possession-based football being employed at the time. He was also at the centre of several unsavoury incidents - including a dressing room punch-up with teammate Pablo Osvaldo after playing Udinese in November before being banned for three matches in late April for spitting at Juventus wing-back Stephan Lichtsteiner during a game.

The Argentine managed six goals from a wide position as Roma concluded the campaign without qualification for either European competition. Enrique was ultimately sacked as eccentric Czech journeyman Zdeněk Zeman returned to the club over 20 years since he last held the managerial position.

Lamela flourished in Zeman’s storied all-out attacking approach. Before the winter break, he scored in six successive matches and was agonisingly close to surpassing Rodolfo Volk’s record for netting in straight games for the Giallorossi. In an attacking trident alongside Totti and Osvaldo, defences simply could not handle his combination of flash trickery and potent finishing.

Zeman’s stubborn nature ultimately led to his own downfall. The controversial boss insisted on an unstable formation and was unwilling to adapt in order to sort out a substandard defence before being dismissed in February. Assistant Aurelio Andreazzoli brought much needed stability but his reign was untenable after an embarrassing Coppa Italia final defeat to bitter city rivals Lazio in May.

Rudi Garcia was handpicked from Lille as a manager capable of achieving results while also establishing an identity off the back of two years of controversial transitional seasons under Enrique and Zeman since the club was purchased by American Thomas Di Benedetto in 2011.

This transfer window has seen a host of notable starters depart such as Marquinhos to Paris Saint-Germain for over £30m and Southampton swooping for Osvaldo in a £12m deal in a calculated bid to balance the books as the preceding windows had seen extensive signings. The auctions are not yet over in spite of passionate supporters voicing their outrage at the exodus.

Bosnian playmaker Miralem Pjanić was originally seen as an asset worth cashing in on, but Garcia has since handed him the keys to midfield alongside new arrival Kevin Strootman. Even club icon Daniele De Rossi was reportedly transfer listed to his own surprise before declaring his will to stay. In the end, interest in Lamela was substantial and a decision was made to look for a potential transfer.

Spurs technical director Franco Baldini capitalised on the situation at his former team and used his inside knowledge to get closer to the Argentine winger. According to Sky Italia, his representative Pablo Sabbag has been in London for the past several days to iron out the details on a £25m bid with an additional £5m in bonuses. The player himself is said to favour a switch to the Premier League, and judging by several comments from his partner and brother over Twitter the move will go through.

Much has been made of Chelsea hijacking Tottenham’s move for William from Anzhi Makhachkala. The Brazilian is a similar player to Lamela but the fundamental difference being that he is primarily a creative outlet while the 21-year-old guarantees goals – consequently a superior fit to fill the void Gareth Bale will leave once his highly anticipated transfer to Real Madrid is completed.

Roma have already lined up Lamela’s replacement in exciting Fiorentina man Adem Ljajić. Gazzetta dello Sport report that the Serbian will undergo a medical tomorrow, and his arrival should appease fans for the time being, but serious questions will be asked of club president James Pallotta’s ambition to compete with the heavy hitters in Serie A.

Totti shocked the Italian media by claiming current Roma jersey “will be my last” during the outfit’s shirt presentation in July. The general consensus remains the captain is merely angling for a contract extension with the remark, but his wish to see Lamela replace him at the Stadio Olimpico appears to have been short-lived.      

News
Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
Sport
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
football
Voices
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Sport
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
sport
News
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
life
Sport
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
News
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel
travel
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform