Ex-Arsenal star wanted to replace Spurs target Damiao at Internacional

Julio Baptista

Tottenham are keen to pursue Leandro Damiao once again, and a former Arsenal goalscorer could help that deal come about.

Tottenham have been linked with Leandro Damiao ever since his Internacional teammate Sandro joined the club in 2010, but they are yet to make good on their pursuit.

If reports were to be believed, they came close to agreeing a deal on deadline day in January, but in typical fashion it was left too late to complete.

It's already been claimed that Damiao is back on Tottenham's summer agenda, so the activities of his current club Internacional could interest them.

The 23-year-old striker is very much the club's main man, so if he left they would have to line up a replacement, and that's exactly what they are currently looking at.

Italian website Rai Sport reports news that Internacional are to begin talks with Malaga over the transfer of Julio Baptista.

The Brazilian spent one year on loan at Tottenham's north London rivals Arsenal in 2006/07, his highlights including a four-goal display over Liverpool in the League Cup.

He has recently bounced back from a year long Achilles injury, returning in February and has scored four La Liga goals since then.

Internacional's club president Giovanni Luigi has made comments on the possibility of signing Baptista, hoping the Brazilian can lower his current salary demands to join the club.

Baptista himself is said to be intrigued about joining Internacional, and working under former Brazilian national coach and World Cup winning player, Dunga.

"Inter interests me, a big club, and Dunga a great manager."

Malaga are in flux at the moment in the wake of Manuel Pellegrini's departure, and Baptista is bound to be considering his future.

He also has just one year remaining on his contract so Malaga, whose financial situation is ever-changing, are unlikely to want to allow him to walk away on a free next summer.

His arrival won't exactly push Leandro Damiao out the door, he would still play second fiddle to the current Brazil international, but it could help.

Baptista's experience will mean he has a chance of being a stop-gap replacement for the striker, should Spurs get their act together and stump up the cash the Brazilian club demand.

image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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