Andre Villas-Boas set to break Tottenham transfer record again
Capture of the Brazilian forward Willian will push Spurs spending to nearly €105m
Anzhi Makhachkala striker Willian who seems to be next on the list for Tottenham
Andre Villas-Boas is poised to break the Tottenham Hotspur transfer record for the third time this summer with the £30 million capture of the Brazilian forward Willian from Anzhi Makhachkala.
In a deal that will push Spurs’ summer spending to almost £90 million (€105 million), Willian was in London yesterday and he is thought to have begun his medical at Tottenham. Yet he might not be Villas-Boas’ final big money signing. The manager is also chasing the £25 million-rated Roma forward Erik Lamela, as he seeks to overhaul his starting XI.
Villas-Boas has spent £59.5 million on four players, including the midfielder Paulinho at £17 million and the striker Roberto Soldado at £26 million, who each represented increases on the club’s previous transfer record – the £16.5 million that they spent to take Luka Modric from Dynamo Zagreb.
The outlay has reinforced the feeling that the chairman Daniel Levy is finally prepared to accept Real Madrid’s offer for Gareth Bale and he is effectively spending against the anticipated windfall from the Wales forward’s sale. Real have offered £86 million for him, which would eclipse the world record – Cristiano Ronaldo’s £80 million move from Manchester United to Real.
Bale has not trained or played in more than a month as he has struggled with minor injuries and the fear that he might risk the dream transfer were he to suffer a serious problem.
Levy has not wanted to sell. Tottenham have cash reserves and he has been keen to keep Bale, add big-name signings and challenge for the title. But if he must lose last season’s player of the year, he has vowed to do so on his terms and only if the squad as a collective can emerge stronger.
He has pressed to take the left-back Fabio Coentrao from Real in order to solve what has become something of a problem position for the team. Villas-Boas is a confirmed admirer of Coentrao, his fellow Portuguese, and he would consider him as an upgrade on current left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
Villas-Boas wanted Willian in January, when the player was at Shakhtar Donetsk, only for him to join Anzhi for €35 million.
Villas-Boas spoke of his admiration for Willian at a press conference on Monday and he would swell the manager’s creative options, as he is able to play on the flank or behind the striker. Lamela is most at home on the right wing but he, too, can play as a number 10.
Tottenham’s technical director, Franco Baldini, who joined earlier in the summer from Roma, knows all about Lamela and he is driving the club’s pursuit of him. Roma have just sold Pablo Osvaldo to Southampton and the loss of Lamela would not be popular among the club’s fans but a tempting offer could yet be decisive. It is believed that Liverpool have also shown an interest in Lamela, together with Willian.
Villas-Boas has overseen the sales of Scott Parker, Tom Huddlestone, Steven Caulker and Clint Dempsey for a combined £23 million, although that stands to be put in the shade by Bale’s proposed move to Real. The Spanish club’s record scorer, Raul, however, believes that Bale is overpriced.
“Bale is a wonderful player and he will be a great addition to Real Madrid but his price is too high,” Raul told the website of his club, Al Sadd, in Qatar. “Tottenham overestimates the price of Bale.”