Chelsea have moved to hijack Tottenham's deal for Willian after they agreed a fee with Anzhi Makhachkala thought to be in the region of £30m. The Brazilian attacker, a long-term target for Spurs, is yet to agree personal terms with Chelsea but it would seem Tottenham will have a difficult job to keep the move alive.
While Spurs were completing a straightforward victory in Georgia to virtually confirm their participation in this season's Europa League group stages, Chelsea officials made contact with Russian club Anzhi over the availability of the 25-year-old, who has been in England since Tuesday. The Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho, had ruled out a new bid for Wayne Rooney until after his side meet Manchester United on Monday night.
But while all the talk has been about the arrival of new foreign talent at White Hart Lane over the past few days, Andros Townsend and Danny Rose showed that Tottenham still have plenty of good homegrown players at their disposal. Townsend - who was handed a four-month ban by the Football Association in June for betting on matches - opened the scoring against Dynamo Tibilsi with a spectacular solo effort before teeing up Paulinho and Roberto Soldado, with Rose's superb strike and another from Soldado ensuring next week's second leg will be no more than a formality.
With technical director Franco Baldini in Spain to continue discussions over Gareth Bale's protracted transfer to Real Madrid, Villas-Boas was left to concentrate on a competition that he continues to value highly despite the distraction it provided in last season's ultimately failed attempt to secure a Champions League place.
Tottenham ended up playing 12 matches en route to their quarter-final exit to Swiss side FC Basle but the selection of seven of the side who started in Sunday's victory over Crystal Palace in their Premier League opener showed the head coach is not considering a change of approach this time around.
The result was never in doubt from the moment that Paulinho's tackle in the 12th minute released Townsend and the winger sprinted from inside his half before applying the finishing touch. Hugo Lloris was called on to deny Jaba Dvali from eight yards but Paulinho's first goal for the club rounded off more excellent wing play from Townsend just before the break.
Last season, Queen's Park Rangers became the ninth club Townsend has played for on loan during his short career, but despite the continued interest in Willian and the Roma winger Erik Lamela, the England Under-21 player showed he could finally be worthy of a prolonged chance by setting up Soldado for the third. Rose's curling effort from the edge of the area - his first for Tottenham since in the 2-1 win against Arsenal in the north London derby on his debut in 2010 - made the result safe before Soldado took his personal tally to three goals in two matches since he joined from Valencia in the summer by converting Nacer Chadli's cross.