Tottenham Hotspur have made a breakthrough in their protracted pursuit of Real Madrid's Lassana Diarra and they are now confident of concluding what would be an eye-catching signing before the end of the month.
Harry Redknapp is a confirmed admirer of the France midfielder, having signed him from Arsenal for £5.5m in January 2008 when he was manager of Portsmouth and he attempted to take him to White Hart Lane from Madrid last summer.
It feels as if a transfer window cannot pass without Tottenham making an inquiry about Diarra only for them to encounter a familiar problem in the shape of his wage demands. The 26-year-old earns £120,000 a week at the Bernabéu.
Yet the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, under pressure from Redknapp, has sought to put together the most attractive package possible for Diarra, featuring bonuses and a large signing-on fee, and hope has turned to conviction in recent days that a deal can be struck. Tottenham want the arrival of a player of Diarra's calibre to send a message about the scale of their ambition to Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, who is eager to move to Chelsea. Levy is adamant that Modric will stay.
If Diarra does complete his transfer, he would follow the Tottenham defender William Gallas in having played for Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham.
Redknapp is also confident of signing the former Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor on loan from Manchester City, while he is keen on the Bolton Wanderers central defender Gary Cahill.
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