Sport | Football

Spurs prepare to splash the cash

Willian and Lloris both targets for Villas-Boas after Modric exit

  • By Jeremy Wilson, Telegraph Group Limited, London 2012
  • Published: 10:30 August 29, 2012
  • Gulf News

Andre Villas-Boas
  • Image Credit: EPA
  • Andre Villas-Boas, manager of Tottenham

London: Tottenham Hotspur have launched bids or inquiries for about £80 million (Dh464 million) worth of playing talent, with their squad overhaul gathering pace on Monday following Luka Modric’s £33 million departure to Real Madrid.

Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham manager, is keen to add Brazilian playmaker Willian and talks are at an advanced stage with Shakhtar Donetsk, who are hoping for as much as £20 million. An initial offer of about £12 million is already understood to have been rejected but it appears significant that Willian was omitted from Shakhtar’s league game against Karpaty Lviv on Sunday, with coach Mircea Lucescu suggesting that the 24-year-old is not in the right frame of mind.

“Does any of you believe that in his current situation his head produces thoughts in the direction of right thinking?” Lucescu said. “I wouldn’t like him to play and suffer an injury but this could happen. He will have some rest, and then we will see what to do. We have a week before the transfer window closes, during which, perhaps, everything will be solved.”

Tottenham, though, are also continuing to line up other options, including Fulham’s Mousa Dembele, with David Bentley or Jermaine Jenas potential makeweights in a deal that could be worth £15 million.

Goalkeeping is another area that Villas-Boas would like to strengthen and he retains serious interest both in Hugo Lloris, the France captain, and Birmingham City’s Jack Butland. Jean-Michel Aulas, the Lyon president, said on Monday that the situation was now in the hands of Lloris, suggesting that there was agreement with Tottenham on a £12 million fee. The sticking point, however, could be Lloris’s desire for Champions League football.

“The sale of Modric from Tottenham to Madrid is important, as is the amount of the transfer,” Aulas said. “It’s true that on Sunday we had a lot of contact with [Tottenham chairman] Daniel Levy. Things progressed during these talks, both qualitatively and quantitatively, but nothing’s concrete yet.

Patient

“I’ve informed Hugo of these discussions. We’ll have to be a bit patient to find out. The decision belongs to Hugo, who, I think, will be approached by Tottenham soon. The clubs’ positions have moved closer together.”

Tottenham are also continuing to monitor their central midfield options, with Rennes’ Yann M’Vila still on the list of potential targets. According to Rennes, Tottenham have made one bid — understood to be close to £12 million — but there has been no further progress in negotiations. Rennes are willing to sell M’Vila but they would expect an offer in excess of £15 million. Villas-Boas would ideally like another more creative central midfielder but, with Scott Parker still unavailable, a renewed bid for M’Vila does remain possible.

Joao Moutinho had been Villas-Boas’s preferred choice but Porto’s asking price is well beyond what Tottenham would be willing to pay.

An inquiry has also been made for Russia’s attacking midfielder Alan Dzagoev, who was one of the emerging stars of Euro 2012 with his three goals in the tournament. Dzagoev’s father and agent claimed that there had been an offer from Tottenham earlier in the transfer window and it was understood that there had been renewed interest over the past week. The problem for Tottenham, however, would be the asking price from CSKA Moscow for their 22-year-old of around £20 million. Adding another forward is also regarded as less of a priority than reinforcing the midfield, with Villas-Boas minded to start the season with Emmanuel Adebayor, Jermain Defoe and Harry Kane as his three options.

An inquiry for Internacional’s Leandro Damiao has also stalled over the cost of the deal. While Tottenham clearly do not expect to secure all of their potential targets, club sources are expecting a “busy” conclusion to the summer transfer window and two or three signings.

Familiar strategy

Levy is renowned for his late deals and, with just four days until the summer window shuts, it is a familiar strategy for him to have so many “irons in the fire”. The Modric money is available for reinvestment in a squad who have stuttered to just one point from their opening two matches this season. Villas-Boas has repeatedly stressed that he does not want to implement dramatic changes and it is the signings of Willian and Lloris that appear most attainable. Players are also still likely to leave, although Michael Dawson has turned down the chance of moving to Queens Park Rangers and Tom Huddlestone’s prospective move to Stoke City has stalled.

Tottenham’s desire to keep Rafael van der Vaart could also be tested by a bid from Hamburg. After completing his medical on Monday Modric, who has signed a five-year deal, said: “When I heard Madrid noticed me, the rest lost interest. This is the best club in the world, with the best coach, the best players. Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Angel di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain, Mesut Ozil, Xabi Alonso — I look forward to playing with them.”

Although there will be no repeat of their dramatic dash for signings last summer, Arsenal are still hoping to add to their squad before the transfer window closes on Friday. They are likely to make a bid for Montpellier captain Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa who, while primarily a centre-back, could provide cover across the defence. There has also been interest in Caen’s 17-year-old forward M’Baye Niang, although he was on the brink of joining AC Milan on Monday night. Arsene Wenger will also look to add a defensive midfielder to cover for the sale of Alex Song.

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