New Tottenham signing Pau Lopez has sent an emotive farewell letter to Espanyol fans to explain his decision to leave his childhood club in order to continue his development at White Hart Lane. The Spanish U-21 international keeper said that manager Quique Sanchez Flores asked him to stay, but he thought that the Spurs opportunity was the right choice.
The 21-year-old custodian joined Espanyol prolific academy as a 12-year-old and progressed through the youth ranks until becoming the number one last season, following the departure of Kiko Casilla to Real Madrid.
The displays of Lopez in his debut season in the top flight earned him a spot in the Spain's preliminary squad ahead of Euro 2016 – alongside 10 other youngsters – while also attracting the attention of Mauricio Pochettino. The Tottenham manager promoted him to the Espanyol first-team during his time in La Liga.
Lopez thus opted to move to Spurs on deadline day to reunite with the Argentinian boss. Some may though that the decision came because Quique Sanchez Flores signed Roberto Jimenez from Olympiacos to be his number one at Espanyol this term.
Yet, Lopez explained that the former Watford boss eventually wanted him to stay, as it was him the one that decided to leave the Catalan side.
"Several circumstances meant I could not have said goodbye as I would have liked. The events have precipitated in the last hours and my call-up with the U-21 national team has prevented me from being at Barcelona," the 21-year-old explained in a post published on Espanyol's website.
"Firstly, I would like to explain that it was my personal decision alone to leave the club. Manager Quique Sanchez Flores and the board reiterated me many times that they did not wish for me to leave, but I took the decision, as I considered it was the right time.
"Secondly, as a personal decision, I had to consider which path I had to follow after some uncertain weeks. When (the Tottenham) door was opened I thought it was a good opportunity to keep my development as I believe it will enhance my professional career and allow me to give my best.
Lopez has joined Tottenham on loan for a fee of €600,000 (£515,000, $680,000) for the rest of the 2016-2017 season, but Spurs keep an option to make the move permanent for €7m at the end of the season.
The Spaniard doesn't know whether he will return to Espanyol next summer, but one way or another he tells the fans that the club will stay in his heart.
"I also want to thank the fans who have stuck with me through the bad times and the good, offering words of comfort and encouragement," he wrote. "Espanyol have been my home for eight years and will continue to be so in my head. I don't know what will happen in the future or what will be the final outcome of this new stage (at Tottenham). However, Espanyol fans can be sure that, no matter what happens in the future, this club will stay in my heart."