Tottenham Hotspur are waiting for an improvement on Real Madrid's original £85m bid for Gareth Bale, as they prepare to sign his replacement, the Brazil international Willian, from Anzhi Makhachkala.
The spending on Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli, Etienne Capoue, Paulinho and now Willian is being funded by the anticipated sale of Bale to Madrid. The original offer of £85m from Real was rejected by Spurs in the conviction that there would be an improved offer which the club hope will come soon from Spain.
Bale himself is still reporting to the Spurs training ground at Enfield for treatment on a thigh injury. However, the understanding between him and the club is that he will not play for Tottenham again and that when Madrid come back with an offer closer to £90m, or with a Madrid player on top of the original offer, then finally the deal can go through.
Willian is regarded as a direct replacement for Bale and the arrival of the Brazilian will mean that the way is at last clear for Bale to leave the club after a summer of wrangling over his future.
It is expected that Spurs will announce they have signed Willian, 25, from Anzhi today. He played for Shakhtar Donetsk against Chelsea in the Champions League last season but left for Anzhi in the January transfer window. His arrival would cap a remarkable summer of trading for Tottenham's chairman, Daniel Levy, who has set out during the close season on what has come to be regarded at the club as a "Champions League or bust" approach.
Willian, who is advised by Kia Joorabchian, has been looked at by a number of Premier League clubs, including Liverpool, who were interested in signing him. He can play on either wing or operate as a second striker. His imminent arrival, along with that of the four other new signings, has signalled a major change in direction at Spurs.
The emphasis placed on a core of British talent has been put to one side, with Steven Caulker sold to Cardiff City and Tom Huddlestone to Hull. Their fellow England international Jake Livermore has also been sent on loan to Hull. It is likely that Jermain Defoe will leave before the end of the window. Kyle Naughton and Tom Carroll may well regard any chance of a breakthrough on their part now blocked.
Spurs have been linked to Roma's Argentinian winger Erik Lamela, valued at £30m, but any deal in that regard would appear to be a contingency. Willian is regarded as the man to replace Bale on the left side of attack. There could yet be more changes, with the possibility that the likes of Lewis Holtby or Gylfi Sigurdsson could feel that their first-team chances are to be limited.
Levy's busy lane: Spurs transfers
Tottenham have already been one of the busiest Premier League clubs in the transfer market this summer, with 19 players either joining or leaving:
Roberto Soldado (£26m from Valencia)
Paulinho (£17m, Corinthians)
Etienne Capoue (£9m, Toulouse)
Nacer Chadli (£7m, FC Twente)
Steven Caulker (£9m to Cardiff)
Clint Dempsey (£6m, Seattle)
Tom Huddlestone (£5m, Hull City)
Scott Parker (£3m, Fulham)
Jake Livermore (loan, Hull City)
A further 10 players have either been loaned out or released.
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