Transfer news: 'Frantic' Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas draws close to deal for Willian - but remains evasive over Gareth Bale

AVB says Spurs will try to keep their best players

Tottenham Hotspur start their Europa League campaign tomorrow night in Georgia with a play-off at Dynamo Tblisi but it will not distract them from their relentless summer recruitment.

Their manager, Andre Villas-Boas, promised that the countdown to the closure of the transfer window on 2 September would be a "very frantic" time.

Spurs are closing in on the signing of Willian, Anzhi Makhachkala's Brazilian forward, for a fee of around £30m. Willian, a long-time target of Andre Villas-Boas, joined Anzhi from Shakhtar Donetsk in January but Villas-Boas confirmed that he was close to a move to White Hart Lane, despite interest from Liverpool.

"There is interest in the player and there have been conversations," Villas-Boas said from Georgia, while Willian was in London, undergoing a medical.

If Willian does join, it would be the third time this summer that Spurs have broken their transfer record following the arrivals of Paulinho and Roberto Soldado from Corinthians and Valencia respectively.

But with Tottenham likely to receive a world record fee in excess of £90m if Gareth Bale is finally sold to Real Madrid, the recruitment at White Hart Lane is not over yet. Spurs refused to comment on reports in the Italian and Spanish media that technical director Franco Baldini was in Madrid for discussions with Real over the transfer of Bale.

"We will see some new players in defence and attack," said Villas-Boas, although he would not confirm the arrivals of Roma's young Argentinian winger Erik Lamela or Real Madrid's Portuguese left-back Fabio Coentrao, who might yet be included in a part-exchange deal for Bale. "They have not signed for Spurs," Villas-Boas said, "both of them are great, great players, but I cannot extend myself."

Villas-Boas was asked if the spending spree was designed in part to try to tempt Bale to stay. "Ideally, we want to keep everyone to make us stronger," he said evasively. "That is the ultimate objective of the club."

"In the end, anything can happen. We are dragging ourselves into the last weeks of transfer activity and it can become very, very frantic."

Villas-Boas values this competition highly – he won it when he was in charge of Porto in 2011 – and Tottenham traditionally play strong teams, as they will attempt to do in the first leg in Tblisi.

Aaron Lennon and Jan Vertonghen are both out injured, however, while Sandro – who played for the Under-21s on Monday as he continues his recovery from injury – will not feature either. Bale has not travelled to Georgia.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...