The Brazilian had become a talismanic figure at the Stadio Olimpico since joining from Sao Paulo in August 2010 – the club’s star performer with 40 goals and 17 assists.
A contract set to expire in June 2015 saw the Aquile keen to lock him down to a new deal, though the 28-year-old was not to be persuaded as talks dragged on through autumn and into the winter.
Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur each were alerted to the situation – eyeing up a potential move for the ‘Prophet – reportedly holding talks with his agent in London in January.
And Hernanes has revealed that it was his professional goals that motivated him to step away from the side he first landed in Europe with – even as he admitted days ago that doing so was difficult.
“After three-and-a-half years at Lazio I realised that it was no longer possible to aspire to grand objectives,” he told ANSA news agency.
“Inter’s proposal, perhaps with a greater vision, convinced me.
“It wasn’t a question of money, but the goals I can achieve.
“[Lazio president Claudio] Lotito offered great economic incentives for me in Rome, but I had already decided.”
The question remains of what level the interested Premier League clubs reached in their believed pursuit of the Brazil international.
United would go on to sign Juan Mata after reported engagements with his agent, whilst Spurs would drop off the radar to not make any new additions in January.
Inter have struggled post Jose Mourinho and are under new ownership, and though matters have been rather chaotic in the first months of Erick Thohir’s presidency, it seems Hernanes saw something in the Indonesian magnate’s project.
Perhaps Tottenham and United simply chose a different route than the ex-Lazio man, but possibly it’s instead that Thohir’s short term goals at San Siro are more than he’s intimated.
Whilst the new Nerazzurri owner has insisted he’s only looking to balance the books at present, spending £16.4m – whilst not £37m Mata money – suggests more may be in the pipeline than he’s let on, as does Hernanes’ conviction.
image: © Junior Faria