Villas-Boas denies Spurs have made Willian bid
Manager admits he admires the player but will not be drawn on whether the Brazilian is a target
Willian of FC Anzhi Makhachkala is reportedly a target for Liverpool and Tottenham. Photograph: Sergey Rasulov Jr/Epsilon/Getty Images
Andre Villas-Boas has denied reports Tottenham have bid for Willian, although he concedes he is a fan of the Anzhi Makhachkala forward.
Tottenham have spent almost £60m (€70m) on signings this summer but Villas-Boas is still looking for additions to his squad as he looks to secure Champions League qualification for next season. The Tottenham manager was interested in signing Willian when he was at Shakhtar Donetsk last season and the Portuguese was also linked with the Brazilian when he was in charge of Chelsea.
Anzhi’s owner Suleiman Kerimov is looking to sell most of the club’s highly paid personnel in order to shrink their vast wage budget. At a press conference to announce Tottenham’s support for the NHS campaign “Get to know cancer”, Villas-Boas was asked whether he had made a bid for the 25-year-old former Shakhtar player.
“No, no,” he replied.
When asked whether he admired the player, the Tottenham manager said: “Yes. This is a player who I have spoken about in the past, not very long ago. He is a player who I appreciate. He belongs to them and I respect them so I wouldn’t like to extend myself too much.”
Liverpool are also thought to be keen on Willian’s signature and, according to some reports, have bid around €30 million.
Yet it was clear from Sunday’s 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, which came courtesy of a Soldado penalty, that the team are far from the finished article. They are light in defence after the sale of Steven Caulker and Villas-Boas concedes there is a good chance of at least one more player arriving before 2 September.
“We haven’t finished,” the 35-year-old said. “We have a very, very good squad. We have done most of our activity in the market, but we are looking further on that. There is a possibility [of new signings], yes.”
Despite the host of new arrivals on show in at Selhurst Park on Sunday, the one question Spurs fans want clearing up is whether Gareth Bale will be at White Hart Lane after September.
Real Madrid are willing to break the world transfer record to sign the 24-year-old Welshman but talks appear to have reached an impasse.
Bale wants to leave for the Spanish capital, but when asked whether he thought the forward, who has been out with a foot injury, had played his last game for them, Villas-Boas said: “No. Not at the moment.
“He is a player who has had a clearing session [a light training session] today. Hopefully if everything goes well the player will be involved and I can give you further news in the future.”
Bale will not travel with Spurs to Georgia on Tuesday for the club’s Europa League play-off with Dinamo Tbilisi on Thursday. “He is in our Europa League squad, but he is not available [for Thursday’s game] because he is injured,” Villas-Boas added.