Spurs signal their intentions by agreeing fee to bring in Dembélé


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The Independent Online

Tottenham Hotspur hope to sign Fulham midfielder Moussa Dembélé in the next 24 hours having beaten Manchester United and others to the player in a deal worth around £15m.

Dembélé, 25, has been a long-term target of Spurs but things have moved quickly since the sale of Luka Modric to Real Madrid on Monday for £27.8m.

As expected, the Belgium international was not in the Fulham squad at Sheffield Wednesday for last night's Capital One Cup game. Having looked at a range of midfielders, Spurs focussed on Dembélé, who has impressed so much that Real Madrid considered him as an alternative to Modric.

The Malaga midfielder Isco, 20, is now not expected to join Spurs in spite of a scouting trip last week by Tim Sherwood, a key figure in the club's recruitment. Neither has interest in Yann M'Vila been seriously followed up. There is interest in Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero and Porto's Joao Moutinho.

For Fulham, a £15m fee for Dembélé, who Mark Hughes signed two years ago for £5m from AZ Alkmaar is an excellent return. It also caps a remarkable two years for the player, who was almost sold to Birmingham City before Fulham intervened in the 2010 summer transfer window.

Spurs will also try to sort out their goalkeepers. Hugo Lloris, below, of Lyons, is the priority. Yesterday, they sold academy keeper David Button, 23, to Charlton for around £400,000 and hope either Heurelho Gomes or Carlo Cudicini will leave before Friday.

A deal for Brazilian striker Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk has proved difficult as the Ukrainian club held out for around £24m despite an acceptance by the club and coach Mircea Lucescu, that he will go. Willian was left out on Sunday on the basis that he would be leaving. Spurs still hope to sign the 24-year-old for around £12m. Their attempts to sign Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao from Internacional, have been virtually abandoned with three trips to Porto Alegre failing to close a deal.

There was no progress yesterday on sending Tom Huddlestone on loan to Stoke, or selling Michael Dawson to Queens Park Rangers. A deal was in place for Huddlestone to join Stoke – involving a £500,000 fee if he stayed the season. But Stoke tried to renegotiate and Levy pulled out.

QPR and Spurs agreed a £9m fee for Dawson, but he rejected personal terms and aims to fight for his place.