Paris St-Germain continue to covet the Tottenham Hotspur manager André Villas-Boas, having been offered no reason, as yet, to suppose their desire to lure him to the Parc des Princes will be dismissed out of hand by the Portuguese.
The French champions are seeking a replacement for the Real Madrid-bound Carlo Ancelotti and have been in dialogue with Villas-Boas's agent, Carlos Goncalves, to sound out his client's availability. The Spurs manager has two years to run on his contract at White Hart Lane, but PSG have been made aware of a buy-out clause in the deal, set at around £10m, and are now understood to have prioritised the 35-year-old having been frustrated in their attempts to secure Guus Hiddink's release from Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.
It remains to be seen whether Villas-Boas, who has been on holiday, is indeed tempted to swap the Premier League for Paris having recently expressed a desire to start a second season at the same club for the first time. His, after all, has been a whirlwind managerial career to date having already taken in spells at Académica, Porto and 256 days at Chelsea. Yet the prospect of taking over at one of the richest clubs in world football may yet prove too enticing, and reports in France have even suggested PSG, backed by the lavish wealth of the Qatar Investment Authority, would aspire to reunite Gareth Bale with the Portuguese should his appointment be secured.
Tottenham would resist the latter's departure, though they may be rendered helpless with Villas-Boas should the French club trigger his release clause and the head coach decide to leave. While they await confirmation of his continued commitment – some clarity is expected in the week to come – they continue to plan for next season with Franco Baldini, whose arrival from Roma had been championed by Villas-Boas, to take over as director of football and interest already expressed in a number of players.
The Brazil midfielder Paulinho has confirmed that his representative, Giuliano Bertolucci, is in London with a £14.5m move from Corinthians having been mooted for a player who has previously been heavily scouted by Chelsea and Manchester City. There is admiration, too, for Wigan Athletic's James McCarthy – the likes of Scott Parker and Tom Huddlestone are expected to move on this summer – though Spurs would not be willing to meet the relegated club's £20m valuation for the Republic of Ireland midfielder.
Tottenham also hope to strengthen significantly up front and have made known their interest in the Spain strikers David Villa and Roberto Soldado, at Barcelona and Valencia respectively, and Internacional's Leandro Damiao in Brazil. The progress of Roma's Argentinian forward Erik Lamela, who has worked under Baldini at the Stadio Olimpico, has also been tracked by the White Hart Lane club.
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image: © Vladimir Maiorov