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Tottenham closing in on $45 million Willian capture?

Aug 21, 2013, 8:21 AM EDT

FC Dinamo Moscow v FC Anzhi Makhachkala - Russian Premier League Getty Images

Brazilian midfielder Willian could be on his way to the Premier League, as the clear-out at stricken Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala continues.

Willian, 25, is reportedly interesting Tottenham Hotspur and the attacking midfielder would certainly add extra creativity to Spurs’ central area. Other reports claim the Brazilian has arrived in London ahead of a medical with Spurs.

But will Andre Villas-Boas keep spending money like it’s going out of fashion? It seems so. With Paulinho, Roberto Soldado, Nacer Chadli and Etienne Capou joining for around $90 million, this Spurs rebuild is getting crazy.

I spoke with the Portuguese boss last weekend after his side beat Crystal Palace, and AVB insisted that they wanted to strengthen their squad.

“At the moment we don’t have lots of options in defense,” Villas-Boas said. “But we still have Kyle Naughton and Kaboul coming back. And Zeki Fryers has done very well in preseason, Capoue can play central defense, so I think either way we are covered.”

Yet AVB didn’t rule out strengthening at the back before the transfer window slams shut, as full back Danny Rose came off injured and their other left back Benoît Assou-Ekotto is also out injured.

“We might, yeah. We might. But we haven’t decided yet bearing in mind Zeki Fryers’ progression.”

(MORE: Crystal Palace 0 – Tottenham Hotspur 1; Soldado’s penalty seals the win – Video)

However Spurs fans will be delighted, yet slightly nervous, at being linked with one of Europe’s most sought after attacking midfielders. Of course, that’s the same position that Gareth Bale plays in. Don’t panic. Willian is a slightly different player. Think of a mix between Bale and Aaron Lennon.

Willian is more of a creative hub than Bale’s driving influence. The Brazilian star gets on the ball and creates openings from deep with deft flicks, speed and an incredible range of passing. Anzhi are paying him ridiculous wages, and following a philosophy change from Russian owner Suleyman Kerimov, Willian, Samuel Eto’o and several other players will need to leave.

Tottenham could grab a bargain if they play this one right. But with Liverpool and clubs all over Europe monitoring Willian’s situations, Spurs will have to nip in fast to grab the former jewel in Shakhtar Donetsk’s crown.

But where would he play in their starting lineup? Out on the left perhaps, but my guess would be in the central attacking role. Gylfi Sigurdsson filled that spot on Sunday against Palace but failed to have any real influence on the game. The Icelandic international would be used better out wide, but Spurs have plenty of options there.

Bale, Lennon, Chadli, Andros Townsend, Sigurdsson… that’s a pretty strong core of attacking talent for AVB to choose from. But if Bale does leave for Real Madrid, Willian will be the new leading man at White Hart Lane.

Do they really need to add Willian over defensive reinforcements? I guess we’ll find out sooner rather than later.

  1. wfjackson3 - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:42 AM

    Spurs fans aren’t worried that Willian coming means Bale is sold. We are worried about the Lamela rumors. Willian could and would do well on the field with Bale at the same time.

  2. NowWaitJustAMinute - Aug 21, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    By all accounts I’ve read, Liverpool had the player. Anzhi wanted 35M GBP and LFC were only willing to pay 30M. Spurs agreed to the 35M and got the player. Not a matter of Spurs patiently playing their cards right, but maybe a late ambush?

    Also read an interesting tweet this morning (yes, the unreliability of Twitter) that Tottenham already had a bid for Lamela accepted and await the player signature. Similar transfer fee as Willian so add more to the spending. All of this attacking/creative players coming in really points to one exit…

    • NowWaitJustAMinute - Aug 21, 2013 at 5:18 PM

      So, “LFC is better’ crew is out. Rumor is that Willian preferred LFC, but John Henry and FSG balked at $5M in “agent fees.” That’s the difference bt our bid and Tottenham’s accepted bid.

      While I agree with FSG’s stance on these sorts of matters, is it a practical hardline rule for the modern European transfer markets or are agent fees and the like simply the price of doing business? Does refusal make the club unable to compete for high profile players? There’s a post idea for you.

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