Tottenham targets, signed by Baldini in 2011, had mass brawl three months later

Roma pair Pablo Osvaldo and Erik Lamela have not always seen eye-to-eye.

Tottenham Hotspur have seen themselves linked with a number of AS Roma players this summer. With former sporting director Franco Baldini now holding that position at White Hart Lane, this trend was always going to be apparent.

At the moment the players being most heavily linked with a move to North London, from the Italian capital, are Pablo Osvaldo and Erik Lamela.

The attacking pair are two of the clubs most potent players in the final third - but Roma are certainly not trying to hold on to both players.

While the club is trying their utmost to keep hold of Lamela, the same cannot be said about Osvaldo.

The Argentine-born Italian international has found his place in the Roma squad untenable, after a massive falling out with the club hierarchy, and more detrimental to his Giallorossi future, with the clubs Ultras.

He fell foul of them after his vicious outbursts at the club post-Coppa Italia defeat to Lazio - and the fans turned on their divisive top-scorer, suggesting his inability to be civil in the wake of the defeat demonstrated a lack of desire from the beginning.

Now, Osvaldo is reportedly the subject of two accepted €18 million bids from the Premier League - believed to be Spurs and Southampton.

Meanwhile the stance on Lamela is much less open. Roma want to keep the young talent, but he appears to be open to a switch - with a fee of €35 million quoted as enough to persuade Roma into a sale.

So, in an ideal world, Tottenham would snap up both Buenos Aires-born players this summer - and pair them up at The Lane in a superb looking new line-up.

But this pair have an interesting history.

In 2011 the pair had both just been signed by Roma, brought in by fellow new recruit Franco Baldini - returning to the Stadio Olimpico in his sporting director role.

But just a few months later and things between the three of them were not going so well.

In November 2011, bad-boy striker Osvaldo hit the headlines (excuse the pun) for all the wrong reasons - after he punched Lamela in the face after a 2-0 defeat to Udinese in Serie A. It was claimed that Osvaldo was incensed at Lamela’s ball-hogging in the game, and after pressing the buttons of the then teenage playmaker, he found himself the recipient of a plastic bottle to the head. Enraged, Osvaldo reportedly punched his team-mate in the gob, before a brawl had to be halted in the dressing room by team-mates and staff.

At the time the team was going through upheaval under new manager Luis Enrique, and this was just one of the examples of rifts in the dressing room at the time.

At the centre of it all however was Baldini. He had signed both players, knowing of their occasionally volatile behavioural flaws - and like a match to dynamite, it all blew up. Baldini decided to pin the blame on Osvaldo, being the senior player, and handed him a fine and 10 day suspension, stating:

"What happened was a lack of respect from Osvaldo to one of his team-mates and at the coach's request he has been punished.’’

Of course this remains a long time ago, and the likelihood is that this is all water under the bridge now.

But Baldini would be right to remain cautious, about bringing these two in at the same time again this summer.

image: © Damien Cansse

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