Gianluigi Longari lamented Erik Lamela’s ill-fated Tottenham move this week.
There’s no way around it. At a Tottenham Hotspur transfer record £25.8m, Erik Lamela has been one of the bigger disappointments this season in the Premier League.
Perhaps the Argentine has been lucky to call Roberto Soldado a team-mate. The Spaniard may be the only thing mitigating disappointment surrounding the 22-year-old’s short Spurs career.
Because while Soldado has frustrated on the pitch, Lamela has barely even seen it. He’s been reduced to an injury-hampered ghost carrying a massive price-tag.
Nine appearances and 326 minutes - that’s the extent of the action he’s seen in the English top flight. It’s been case a of the lesser of two evils, really - an unsettled and out of sorts player who is healthy, or a frustrated one on the treatment table.
And back in Italy, the ex-Roma star appears to still have his admirers - in journalist Gianluigi Longari’s case, frustrated at how his Premier League adventure has panned out.
“An unacceptable waste for anyone who loves football and accordingly loves Lamela,” the journalist wrote on Tutto Mercato Web. “An absolute shame considering how much his talent could have been capitalised on by a master tactician like [Roma coach] Rudi Garcia that we have learned of in Italy.
“I have regret for what might have been and hasn’t happened, but live with hope tied to what could presumably happen in the summer.
“There are lovers of the quality of one of the champions announced for both the present and the future: what remains is to find the key to bringing back to Calcio one its most talented ambassadors.”
Longari’s point is clear - he never wished to see Lamela to leave in the first place, and wants him back in Serie A.
Naturally, this is something he has no control over. Yet Longari’s view still gives insight into how the Italian media and fans have seen the 22-year-old’s downfall in England.
The blame has already been passed around for Lamela’s situation. Daniel Levy, Franco Baldini and Andre Villas-Boas have all been named as culprits.
Yet beyond targeting a scapegoat, the youngster’s career remains in need of salvaging.
Spurs kept their record signing from moving back to Serie A in January, but don’t rule out Lamela and his entourage pushing for a return to the peninsula again in the summer.
The financial aspect makes a resolution hard to foresee. However, if others - club officials, namely - harbour the same feelings as Longari in Italy, they may go to lengths to bring him back.
Lamela’s formerly promising future remains in the balance. Tottenham have a decision to make on a massive investment that hasn’t panned out.
Stick or twist? The choice is unclear. But if Spurs choose the latter, it looks as if the winds of sentimentality could blow Lamela back to the country he started his European adventure with.