Lawwell said: “I think it’s fair to say that acquiring new players is the hardest part of my job. And it seems to become more complicated with each passing year. It depends to a large extent on the status of the player you’re after, where he currently located and how many interested parties are involved.
“For example, bringing Shunsuke Nakamura from Italian football would be the most laborious and intricate assignment I’ve been involved with since I took this job.
“It was because of the international element to Naka. Actually, you could even call it a global factor. Negotiations involved a lot of different aspects, such as the player’s image rights and his popularity in Japan. There was a room full of agents and advisers in that one and an awful lot of haggling had to be done. It has been very satisfying and beneficial for us, when you look at his talent and what he brings to our team.
“And the complexities of the process of securing players can depend on where they’re coming from. Different countries have different attitudes and approaches to business, and by that I don’t just mean in football.
“Nor is it simply that, say, northern Europeans are different from Mediterranean Europeans. The Italians can be different from the French and Spanish, the Germans different from the Scandinavians, and the Dutch something else again.”