Former Tottenham Hotspur director of football Damien Comolli says he told the club that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris could be worth an 18 extra points a season to them.
Comolli, who was dismissed by Spurs in October 2008, claims that data analysis earlier that year had shown Lloris had the potential to be one of the very best goalkeepers in the world, while he recommended signing the player four years before he arrived at White Hart Lane.
Speaking at the Web Summit in Dublin, Jens Melvang of performance analysis company Prozonesports suggested that goalkeepers are underappreciated considering the influence they can have on a game -- a view that is shared by Comolli.
"If I'm a player's agent and I've got a world-class goalkeeper, I would drive the clubs crazy because they are undervalued, both in transfer fees and his wages, apart from a few ones," Comolli said.
"In 2008 we were looking for a goalkeeper at Spurs. We ran some metrics about who are the best under-21 goalkeepers in Europe. And it came out: [Manuel] Neuer, who's now the best goalkeeper in the world, Joe Hart, who had played only a few games, and the third one was Hugo Lloris.
"You look at it, six years later, they're three of the best goalkeepers in the world."
Ultimately, then-Spurs boss Juande Ramos decided to buy Brazil international Heurelho Gomes instead to replace the out-of-form Paul Robinson.
Based on the data they analysed at the time, though, Comolli said that he and his team had predicted in 2008 that Lloris could eventually earn Tottenham an additional 18 points over the course of a season.
The ex-Liverpool sporting director feels that this theory was backed up when Spurs finally did convince Lyon to part with the France international, saying: "In 2012, when Spurs signed Hugo Lloris, they scored the highest number ever of points in the Premier League."
Spurs finished fifth that season as Arsenal pipped them to the final Champions League place by one point. While Gareth Bale scored 21 goals, swept the Player of the Year awards and earned a move to Real Madrid, Comolli believes that Lloris also played an integral role in the side's success that year.
"There is a correlation -- 100 percent guarantee," he said. "There is Gareth [Bale], but there's also Hugo Lloris. Everybody's talking about Gareth so he gets the big money move. Hugo is undervalued because he's a goalkeeper."