x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Tottenham still on the trail of Willian

London club considering January bid for Shakhtar midfielder.

Shakhtar Donetsk's Willian could yet move to Tottenham.
Shakhtar Donetsk's Willian could yet move to Tottenham.

Tottenham Hotspur have not given up their pursuit of Brazil international Willian and may bid again for the attacking midfielder in the January transfer window.

One of the club's principal targets during a characteristically frantic bout of trading last month, the 24 year old would already be a Tottenham player had it not been for a disagreement over the schedule of payments on a €30 million (Dh138m) transfer.

The National has discovered that Shakhtar Donetsk accepted Tottenham's club-record fee for Willian after an extended period of negotiation in which the Ukrainian champions refused to lower their asking price for a player who had also attracted offers from Chelsea and Benfica.

Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, proposed paying the fee in five instalments, a relatively standard approach for such a high-value transfer. Shakhtar refused, asking for €15m upfront and the balance in December.

Levy then came up with an alternative offer matching the schedule of payments to those due to Tottenham for Luka Modric's €30m plus €8m switch to Real Madrid, but Shakhtar elected to hold onto the player.

Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham manager, will assess the development of his new eam in the coming months before making a final decision on whether to request a further formal approach for Willian, who would welcome the opportunity to join a Premier League club.

"I have a proposal, but it is complicated because of the board," said Willian in August. "Here are many players in the same position, most Brazilian. They buy and do not let go. That's the problem. Everyone knows that I want out, I'm here for five years, won many titles, so I hope you respect my will."

Any January approach for Willian would represent a third consecutive attempt by Villas-Boas to sign an individual comfortable behind the centre forward or on the wing. Last winter the Portuguese coach was instrumental in Chelsea's failed attempt to sign him.

While both bids ultimately proved unsuccessful, Levy's efforts to support his new coach are underlined by the fees offered for Willian and Joao Moutinho.

A transfer with a total potential value of €30m was agreed with Porto for Moutinho 10 minutes before the August deadline only for the selling club to deliver errant documents to the Premier League.