Tottenham Hotspur have agreed a £15m fee for Moussa Dembele, Fulham announced last night, with more signings on the way for Spurs in the next few days.
Dembele, 25, has been a long-term target of Spurs but negotiations with Fulham have moved quickly since the sale of Luka Modric to Real Madrid on Monday morning for £27.8m and at last the club feel they are in a position to sign a Premier League name that will excite the fans.
As expected, the Belgium international was not part of the Fulham squad that travelled to Sheffield Wednesday for last night's Capital One Cup game. Having made early inquiries about a range of midfielders, Spurs have decided to focus first on Dembélé who has impressed to such an extent in his last 12 months in the Premier League that Real considered him as an alternative to Modric.
The Malaga midfielder Isco, 20, is now not expected to join Spurs in spite of the scouting trip undertaken last week by Tim Sherwood, a key figure in the club's recruitment process. Neither has interest in Rennes Yann M'Vila been followed up in a meaningful way over the last four weeks. There is interest in the Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero and Porto's Joao Moutinho.
The signing of Dembélé is a good outcome for chairman Daniel Levy who has managed to keep the club's interest in the Fulham man relatively low-key until it emerged in the aftermath of Modric's sale on Monday. For Fulham, the £15m fee for a player Mark Hughes signed two years ago for £5m from AZ Alkmaar is an excellent return on their investment.
It also caps a remarkable two years for the player himself, who was almost sold to Birmingham City before Fulham intervened in the 2010 summer transfer window. Given the sale of Modric, the latest marquee name to leave the club, the arrival of Dembélé also justifies Levy's policy of buying good players whose value rises.
After Dembélé, the club will seek to resolve their goalkeeping situation. Hugo Lloris, of Lyons, is the priority. Yesterday, they sold the goalkeeper David Button, 23, a graduate of the Spurs academy, to Charlton Athletic for around £400,000 and ideally another from Heurelho Gomes and Carlo Cudicini will leave before Friday.
The deal to sign Brazilian winger Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk has proved difficult with the Ukrainian club holding out for €30m (£23.8m) despite a general acceptance at the club that he will be going. Willian was left out the side for Sunday's league game against Karpaty on the basis that he would be leaving imminently. Spurs are still hopeful of signing the 24-year-old for around €15m including performance-related payments. Their repeated attempts to sign the other key Brazilian target, striker Leandro Damiao from Internacional have been virtually abandoned with three trips by representatives of the club to Porto Alegre having failed to secure a deal.
There was no further progress yesterday on the attempts to resurrect the deal to take midfielder Tom Huddlestone on loan to Stoke City, or the sale of centre-half Michael Dawson to Queen's Park Rangers. A deal was in place for Huddlestone to join Stoke – involving a £500,000 loan fee if he stayed the whole season and Stoke covering his wages. Stoke then tried to renegotiate the entire deal and Levy rejected their offer.
There has been agreement between QPR and Spurs over a £9m fee for Dawson but he has rejected the personal terms on offer and believes that he may yet force his way into Andre Villas-Boas' plans for the season. Ideally, Spurs would like both deals to go through but there is an acceptance that they must press ahead with other signings in the meantime.