Tottenham Hotspur want Real Madrid to subsidise Arjen Robben's wages in return for him moving to White Hart Lane, in one of the summer's more audacious transfer moves. The Dutch winger is the key target as they try to take advantage of Real Madrid's fire sale of first-team players.
The Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, has been in Madrid this week to finalise the details of Juande Ramos's severance package from the club and also to make contact about Robben. Spurs know that Real are ready to sell but the hardest part will be persuading the former Chelsea winger, and his father, Hans, that a move to White Hart Lane is right for him.
Hans, who is his son's adviser, yesterday dismissed the prospect of Arjen joining Spurs as "absolute nonsense". He said: "We don't talk with Tottenham. At the moment we don't talk with any club. Things can change overnight, but one thing is sure, Arjen will certainly not join Tottenham."
However, Hans has not always been the most reliable chronicler of his son's intentions. Key to signing Robben will be his wages which, at £80,000 a week, are way in excess of the biggest earners at Spurs. In order for him to be a realistic target, Real will have to agree to pay part of that contract. It is a common tactic of clubs who want to lighten their wage bill and Levy believes that a deal can be done.
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Gabriel Heinze are also available, but it is Robben whom the manager Harry Redknapp has told Levy that he wants.