x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Transfer talk: Willian seems headed to Tottenham Hotspur

Brazil international forward looks set to leave Anzhi Makhachkala for English Premier League club.

Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, is said to be a fan of Willian, the Brazil international. Miguel Riopa / AFP
Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, is said to be a fan of Willian, the Brazil international. Miguel Riopa / AFP

Tottenham Hotspur's biggest ever spending spree looks set to continue with the purchase of Willian, the Anzhi Makhachkala forward.

Tottenham have already broken their transfer record twice this summer in a £60 million (Dh345.7m) splurge and they could well break it again if they complete the signing of the Brazil international.

Andre Villas-Boas, the Premier League club's manager, spoke of his admiration for Willian at a news conference on Monday and it is understood that Spurs are closing in on the signing of the 25 year old, who was also of interest to Liverpool.

Villas-Boas wanted Willian when he was at Chelsea and he was also interested in signing the versatile forward in January, only for him to move to Dagestan for a taste of Anzhi's riches.

Suleyman Kerimov, Anzhi's billionaire owner, has since had a change of tack and he now wants to offload several of the club's top-paid stars, including Willian, who would prove to be an excellent acquisition, according to Rene Meulensteen, the former manager of the Russian club.

"I've worked with him for a short time but I really, really like him. He will be an asset for whoever's going to get him," the former Manchester United coach told Sky Sports News.

"If it's Spurs that's going to get him they'll get an excellent player. He's very versatile, he can play in different positions, he's a very creative player and an excellent professional with a very good personality.

"He's going to be a major trump card for Spurs if they can get the deal to go through.

"He can beat a player, he can score a goal. I thought he was an absolute delight to work with."

Villas-Boas said on Monday that Spurs had not completed their work in the transfer market, and it appears that Willian may not be the London club's final signing in this window.

Erik Lamela, the Roma forward, is another player who the Spurs manager appears set on adding to his squad.

Lamela's agent is understood to have cancelled a planned trip to London on Monday, but he still may make the journey later this week to join Roma officials, who are reported to be in the English capital to discuss the potential transfer of the Argentinian.

All this spending from club chairman Daniel Levy, usually a shrewd and restrained player in the market, has led some to suggest that he is splashing the cash in anticipation of Gareth Bale's exit to Real Madrid.

Talks between the two clubs appear to have reached an impasse recently.

Carlo Ancelotti, the Madrid manager, said last week that he did not need to add any more players to his squad and it is understood that reports of the two clubs agreeing a £93m fee are wide of the mark.

Raul, who is Madrid's all-time leading goal scorer, thinks a world-record fee for the Welshman is simply too much.

"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 in the price of Bale."

Tottenham touched down in Georgia late on Tuesday night ahead of their Europa League clash against Dinamo Tbilisi on Thursday.

On Wednesday afternoon Villas-Boas will hold a news conference in which he may divulge further details about potential new signings.

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