How Tottenham star Erik Lamela turned down Barcelona to continue River Plate education

The Spanish giants made an attempt to lure him to Catalunya when he was just 12 years old but the midfielder rejected the offer to continue his development in his homeland
Tottenham midfielder Erik Lamela rejected a move to Barcelona when he was a child, in order to continue his development at River Plate.

The Primera Division side offered Lamela's parents jobs, a home and a cash settlement in order to bring him to Camp Nou at the age of 12, but the decision was made to stay at El Monumental.

He eventually made the move to Europe after River Plate's relegation in 2011, joining Serie A side Roma for £10 million.

He then joined Tottenham this summer after Franco Baldini - former director of football at Roma, now at Spurs - helping to convince the 21-year-old to move to White Hart Lane for £21.4m.

"One of their scouts watched him and rang me," Lamela's father, Jose, revealed to FourFourTwo.

"They came to a youth tournament in France and he scored five goals in a 12-0 win. They said a further trial wasn't necessary. We spent around 15 days looking around the facilities, where he was going to go to school, where we would live.. everything."

Lamela added: "It was very tempting, but it wasn't the right time for me or my family. River was my home and I'm sure we made the right decision."

The Spurs midfielder scored his first goal for the club against Sheriff in the Europa League on Thursday, after which Andre Villas-Boas admitted that the Argentine is beginning to settle at his new club.