Transfer news: Tottenham target Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez as replacement for Jermain Defoe

The England striker is growing frustrated with the lack of playing time this season

Tottenham must first find a replacement if Jermain Defoe is to leave the club in January - with Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez their top target.

Defoe is desperate for more playing time with the World Cup in the horizon, and has been strongly linked with a switch away. MLS side Toronto FC and West Ham and QPR have all been cited as possible destinations for the 31-year-old.

However, according to the Evening Standard, Andre Villas-Boas is wary of reducing his options up front.

Defoe is the club’s top scorer this season with nine goals and has significantly started the last two League matches, while £26m summer signing Roberto Soldado has been named on the bench.

Soldado, who has scored just four League goals this term (three of which were penalties), has struggled to adapt to the team’s style of play and the pace of English football.

Spurs have made buying a forward one of their main priorities in the January transfer window and remain optimistic they can lure Hernandez from Manchester United.

Javier Hernandez Javier Hernandez  

But Villas-Boas wants Defoe to stay at White Hart Lane regardless, although the forward is wary of playing enough first team football to cement his place in England’s World Cup squad next summer.

Tottenham would prefer to off-load Emmanuel Adebyaor, who has made just one appearance as a substitute this term, but he remains happy to stay despite his lack of playing time and clubs have been scared off by his £170,000-a-week salary demands in the past.

The former Manchester City forward is expected to return to training this week following a knee problem and could be in line to feature against Anzhi Makhachkala in the Europa League on Thursday night.

There is also a strong possibility that left back Danny Rose will also be making his first appearance since suffering a toe injury against Tromso in the competition three months ago.

Rose’s return is timely with Jan Vertonghen set to miss the next four weeks after suffering an ankle ligament strain against Fulham.

Spurs are also without Vlad Chiriches due to a knee injury and Younes Kaboul has a problem with his quad, meaning Michael Dawson is currently the only fully fit centre half.

Villas-Boas has also been considering signing a left back in January having been forced to play Vertonghen out of position there during Rose’s absence, but the latter’s return to fitness will ensure they are covered during the busy festive period.

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