Pavlyuchenko and Arshavin bids put Spurs on a tightrope

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Tottenham Hotspur are weighing up new bids for the Russia internationals Roman Pavlyuchenko and Andrei Arshavin as they face the prospect of losing their three first-choice strikers over the next two weeks. They regard Arshavin as a replacement for Robbie Keane, whose move to Liverpool is the most imminent of the three.

Pavlyuchenko has been the subject of interest from Tottenham already this summer with his club Spartak Moscow claiming that an offer of sorts – for around £10m – was put their way by Spurs. However, clubs in Europe are well aware that Tottenham are about to become one of the most cash-rich clubs in the market with the potential sale of Keane, Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent over the next month and are adjusting their valuations accordingly. Spurs regard a price in excess of £20m for Arshavin as too high at the moment.

With three such high-profile transfers in prospect, Tottenham will be expected to pay a good deal more for Pavlyuchenko, potentially £15-20m. Their interest in Arshavin was outlined yesterday by the Zenit St Petersburg sporting director, Konstantin Sarsaniya. "With Tottenham we have contacts," he said. "This English club is really interested in acquiring Andrei but, as I understand, €27m [£21.5m] is too high a price for them. For Spurs it is unacceptable. Tottenham are ready to pay in the region of €20m [£15.9m] for Arshavin."

Signing Pavlyuchenko and Arshavin is a delicate balancing act for Spurs between selling their existing strikers for the right price and in good enough time. As well as tying up the deal with Liverpool for Keane, Spurs also expect a bid from Everton for their striker Darren Bent. David Moyes has not bought a single player this summer but the Bent deal is dependent on Andy Johnson's move. Fulham are about to make an offer in excess of £10m for the England international.

Spurs' list of potential transfer targets is still relatively limited, having signed Luka Modric they have concentrated their efforts on the two Russians, David Bentley and the left-sided Seville player Diego Capel. While they are prepared to go relatively high on the fees, as ever with Tottenham it is the wages that will prove the biggest obstacle to signing players from the upper echelon of European football. The top earners at White Hart Lane are – by English football's absurd standards – relatively low paid on £2m a year, or £40,000 a week.

The Blackburn Rovers chairman, John Williams, hinted yesterday that the Bentley saga could almost be at an end when conceding that the player did have a price that, if met, would be considered. It is understood that Paul Robinson will be the makeweight in the Bentley deal, valued at around £16m with Blackburn set to lose Brad Friedel to either Manchester City or Aston Villa. Williams said that should Blackburn receive a bid "that was in line with current market values, then we will refer it to Paul Ince and it becomes a football decision after that."

In terms of players leaving White Hart Lane, it would appear that Steed Malbranque, Teemu Tainio and Pascal Chimbonda are all likely to move to Sunderland, although not Younes Kaboul – who has been the subject of interest from Portsmouth and Villa.

Tottenham also said yesterday that they had handed over to the Premier League their "dossier of evidence" detailing what they believe are Manchester United's illegal approaches to Berbatov.