Erik Lamela's time as a Tottenham player could come to an abrupt end in 2014, with the winger's father revealing his son is seeking a return to Serie A.
Jose Lamela is quoted by Italian media (h/t ESPN FC) saying that a return to Italy is the 21-year-old's first choice, the nation's capital currently looking most plausible:
Erik is not happy and wants to go back to Italy. He has been linked with Lazio, but I don’t know anything about this. Could he re-join Roma? I don’t know. Tottenham does not want him to leave in January.
CNN's Tancredi Palmeri backs up the quotes:
Oh, important words from Lamela's father: "He would like to come back to Italy but Tottenham don't allow him to leave in january"— Tancredi Palmeri (@tancredipalmeri) January 7, 2014
London life hasn't been kind to Lamela, who has struggled to adapt at White Hart Lane since breaking Tottenham's transfer record with a £30 million move over the summer.
The youngster has made just three Premier League starts for the club since completing a switch to England, but is yet to score his first domestic goal for Spurs.
What's Tottenham's best January course of action with Lamela?
It's unsurprising that the Europa League has been slightly kinder to the Argentinian international, providing an easier platform on which Lamela has scored one goal and made three assists in six games, per Transfermarkt.co.uk.
Lamela will undoubtedly go down as one of the biggest failings of Spurs' technical director Franco Baldini, if he does leave in the near future.
Despite Andre Villas-Boas' axing as manager of the north Londoners, it was revealed by the Daily Mail's Matt Barlow that South American Lamela was actually one of those players whom AVB didn't want to bring in.
The Portuguese's judgement looked good in this case, too, with the former Roma sensation failing to fit in among the English top flight, the physicality of the division seeming to take its toll.
According to Squawka, Lamela has won less than a third of his 27 attempted tackles this term, the worst percentage of any player not playing as a goalkeeper or striker.
This is despite claims from the Mail Online that Lamela's agent is in the process of negotiating a temporary move to Inter:
Erik Lamela's agent Pablo Sabbag is understood to be in Milan negotiating a loan move to Inter #spurs— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) January 6, 2014
Lamela is in pursuit of a place in his national team for the 2014 World Cup, but isn't getting regular minutes at Tottenham and isn't showing the necessary improvements to see that number increase significantly.
Tim Sherwood has played the talent for just 92 minutes since taking over as Tottenham boss in mid-December, but has succeeded in coming upon a more regular Spurs starting XI, something Villas-Boas struggled with in his final months at the club.
Regardless of Lamela's hopes of a departure, it's uncertain as to whether the creative star will get his wish in January, with Tottenham unlikely to come upon a suitor willing to repay their considerable expenditure.