When Tuttomercatoweb reported that Everton had sent scouts to watch Sampdoria in action back in March, few would have expected that Lucas Torreira, rather than the much vaunted striker Patrick Schick, would emerge as one of the stars of the 2017/18 Serie A season.
While Schick’s impact at Roma since his summer move has been held up by injury, Torreira has been a shining light for a youthful Sampdoria side aiming to replicate a fresh-faced Atalanta side last season and push for Europe.
The Uruguayan playmaker scored a stunning free-kick against Chievo in October, either side of inspiring victories against AC Milan and Juventus.
And Samp’s madcap president Massimo Ferrero has now insisted that the club will not sell their prized asset for anything less than a frankly obscene transfer fee.
"Torreira is worth 50 million euros (around £45 million), but in January he will not be going anywhere,” Ferrero said in quotes reported by Calciomercato.
Perhaps Everton should have made their move this summer. Because not only would Torreira now threaten to coax a club-record transfer fee out of the Merseysiders, it appears that they are no longer the only club aware of his talent.
Sampdoria director Carlo Osti told Calciomercato after the 3-2 win against Juventus last month that his phone was going crazy with enquiries about the 21-year-old talisman.
So if Everton do want to finally submit a bid, they may need to prepare themselves for stumping up a fee similar to the one they splashed out on Gylfi Sigurdsson in the summer.