The A-League heavyweights believed they had sealed a coup to bring the star striker to Australia, but a last-minute hitch has seen Lecce pounce to sign him
Lecce expect to seal a deal to sign free agent Fabrizio Miccoli on Wednesday, denying Melbourne Victory in the race to sign for the mercurial forward.
Victory had been in advanced talks the ex-Juventus man following his release from Palermo, with some outlets claiming a verbal agreement had been reached between the 10-cap Italy international's camp and the A-League heavyweights.
However, Lecce released a statement on their website on Tuesday claiming Miccoli had opted to join his boyhood club, who will play in the Lega Pro Prima Divisione, Italy's third tier, next season.
"(He) has chosen, among several options, to wear the yellow jersey, for whom he had always shown great affection and love," the club statement read.
"The contract will be formalized on Wednesday."
Lecce chief executive Antonio Tesore said he was delighted when it became apparent the negotiations between Victory and Miccoli had foundered.
"Between Thursday and Friday the Australians were in talks and everyone took it for a done deal," Tesore told tuttolegapro.com.
"Instead, we were able to stay in the race and now we are fully in the running to bring Miccoli to Lecce. We are confident, and next week the decisive meeting to close the deal will take place."
Victory, having released Marcos Flores to Central Coast Mariners in anticipation of capturing Miccoli, must now look elsewhere for a new marquee player.