Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini has revealed the reasons why he sold Erik Lamela to Tottenham.
The Argentine international moved to the Premiership outfit this summer in a €30m deal, but that only happened after an Italian club – thought to be Napoli – had made a move for him.
“It was a painful sale for all of us,” Sabatini, who preferred to move him on to a foreign side, noted on Friday.
“At the beginning we didn’t think we could sell Erik and we didn’t want to. Then some new factors came into play and as time went on we started to consider the eventuality.
“A club made him an offer that we didn’t and couldn’t match. And rather than trying to win a war that we probably wouldn’t, we opted to sell.
“When that Italian club offered him €3.5m a season, as well as a €2m commission to his agent father, we knew we had lost the player.
“His people started pushing for a renewal and that is when I started moves to sell him. Had we begun negotiations sooner then we probably could have sold him for an even bigger fee…”
As well as sacrificing Lamela, Sabatini also sold Marquinhos to Paris Saint-Germain and Pablo Daniel Osvaldo to Southampton.
“No one obliged me to sell. But it was a tough market because it came after the Coppa Italia Final loss, there was a compromised psychological dimension and we had to rebuild with what was left to us.
“However, the market was concluded satisfactorily and we are sure we have built a competitive team.
“We didn’t sell the future, we sold shreds of the future,” he reiterated. “We also signed players by spending important figures and there are still young players of value in the squad.
“Roma are not a selling club. We are working with the objective of being competitive.”
Sabatini is now the main man in the capital after director general Franco Baldini left for a new experience at Tottenham.
“Franco behaved well,” he added. “He knew that we were after certain players, but he only made moves for them after we had left them alone.
“I feel freer in my work without having Baldini, a great friend, by my side. He is certainly thriving with my absence, he seems rejuvenated at Tottenham.”
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