André Villas-Boas has revealed that Tottenham Hotspur have used a blood-spinning healing technique in the injection they gave Jermain Defoe to combat a muscle tear in the pelvic area and the manager also stated his desire to sign a striker before Thursday night's transfer deadline.
The club have been keen to downplay the significance of Defoe's problem but Villas-Boas suggested that the player had been troubled by it since the start of the month, at least, and that it had required careful management. Defoe has appeared in each one of Tottenham's Premier League and Europa League fixtures this season, scoring 14 goals, although he has only one in his past eight matches.
Villas-Boas said Defoe had felt tightness last week, underwent an MRI scan which showed a grade one tear to the obturator muscle, had the injection on Friday and needed to be stood down from Sunday's FA Cup defeat at Leeds United when, with Emmanuel Adebayor at the Africa Cup of Nations with Togo, the team were without a recognised senior striker.
Defoe's injection appears to have achieved its ends and Villas-Boas said that the England international would return to the side at Norwich City on Wednesday night. There have been fears that an operation will, ultimately, be required to solve the problem and, although Villas-Boas downplayed them, he did admit that further setbacks could not be discounted.
"In muscle injuries, there is always a risk of it showing up again but the medical department feel positive about it and the player is positive and he knows his body well," Villas-Boas said.
Blood-spinning is a controversial technique because, although legal, it is considered on the edge of anti-doping regulations. It came to prominence in English football in the José Mourinho era at Chelsea, when Villas-Boas was a part of the backroom staff. It involves taking a sample of the player's blood, removing the platelets, the cells that assist the healing process, and injecting them back into the injured area. It is claimed to speed up recovery.
"We believe a lot in growth factor treatment and plasma platelet treatments," Villas-Boas said. "It is a technique that we have been using since the beginning of the season. It is not common but does happen from club to club. Defoe adhered to the treatment very, very well so we can move forward. You take out the blood from any part of the body and spin it around. The plasma comes to the top and you are able to inject it back into the body. It is the part of the blood that heals injuries."
Villas-Boas said the policy of having only Defoe and Adebayor as recognised strikers, with the attacking midfielder Clint Dempsey able to play there at a push, was a "risk" and it would appear that his resources have been stretched to breaking point, particularly as he has come to favour a 4-4-2 formation.
The club will investigate whether a deal for a striker can be done, with Celtic's Gary Hooper, José Callejón of Real Madrid and Sevilla's Alvaro Negredo among their targets. Villas-Boas would love to sign Leandro Damião of Internacional, although he would cost upwards of £20m.
"We've found consistency in 4-4-2 so eventually we have the possibility to have one more [striker]," Villas-Boas said. "It's just trying to see if it makes sense. The January market is very demanding. Transfer fees can be ridiculously high."
Villas-Boas has completed the £1.5m signing of the attacking midfielder Lewis Holtby from Schalke – he is in the 19-man travelling party for Norwich – and the club retain an interest in the West Ham midfielder Mohamed Diamé. "There are certain situations where, yes, we might lose the player," said the West Ham manager, Sam Allardyce. "It's total confusion."
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