x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Andre Villas-Boas to fight Chelsea for Robert Lewandowski

Tottenham Hotspur manager set to duel with his former club for the services of the Polish striker.

Robert Lewandowski, right, is an acquisition target of Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham Hotspur and his former employers, Chelsea.
Robert Lewandowski, right, is an acquisition target of Andre Villas-Boas at Tottenham Hotspur and his former employers, Chelsea.

Andre Villas-Boas is ready to go head-to-head with former employers Chelsea over the recruitment of the Bundesliga's leading marksman, Robert Lewandowski. Tottenham Hotspur's newly-appointed coach has recommended the 23-year-old Poland international to the club, who have made an initial approach for the versatile striker.

Chelsea, who fired Villas-Boas in March and continued paying the Portuguese's £2 million (Dh11,377m) net salary until his formal appointment at White Hart Lane last week, have a long-standing interest in Lewandowski. Villas-Boas, however, is moving quickly to implement a transfer strategy he has been working on since provisionally agreeing to succeed Harry Redknapp in mid-June.

In collaboration with chairman Daniel Levy and technical co-ordinator Tim Sherwood, the new coach plans to reinforce Tottenham's squad in all areas. After the pre-arranged purchases of midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hoffenheim and central defender Jan Vertonghen from Ajax, they are working with a transfer budget of £25m plus the income from sales.

Villas-Boas has approved a decision to cash in on Luka Modric's desire to leave the club, preferably to Real Madrid. Tottenham are also prepared to sell Rafael van der Vaart to raise further funds. Though popular with supporters, the Holland international has struggled for fitness and tactical discipline throughout his two seasons in the Premier League.

As a replacement Villas-Boas has persuaded Tottenham to bid for Joao Moutinho, a key figure in the FC Porto team with which he won the Europa League, Portuguese League and Portuguese Cup in 2011. The Portugal midfielder is also pushing for the move, meeting Porto president Nuno Pinto da Costa on Wednesday to request a transfer.

Though Moutinho's buyout clause is €40m (Dh180,515m), Tottenham believe they may be able to secure the player for as little as €22m. The deal, however, is likely to be complicated by third-party ownership and sell-on values.

Moutinho forced a €10m transfer from Sporting in the summer of 2010 and the Lisbon club are due 25 per cent of the profit on the player's next move. Porto also sold, and then bought back, proportions of Moutinho's economic rights to a Belgian company. Currently, 15 per cent of those rights are owned by Football Invest Fund.

Moutinho is represented by Pini Zahavi and his nephew Nir, and there is scepticism about reports that Manchester United have made an offer for the midfielder. Tottenham believe they do not face competition from Sir Alex Ferguson for the player's signature.

United have, though, made an offer for Moussa Dembele, who is entering the final year of his contract with Fulham. While the London club rejected Ferguson's initial bid for the attacking midfielder, they are prepared to sell the Belgium international if their valuation is met.

United are about to raise £3m from the sale of Park Ji-sung to Queens Park Rangers. The South Korea midfielder, 31, agreed a lucrative contract extension at Old Trafford a year ago only to be sparsely used last season.

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