Younes Kaboul could make his long-awaited return from injury in Tottenham's game against Everton next month, manager Andre Villas-Boas has confirmed.
Kaboul was often criticised for his inconsistency when he rejoined Spurs in 2010, but he was the club's best centre-back last term. The Frenchman missed out on Euro 2012 after suffering a knee injury towards the end of the campaign and the problem flared up again during Villas-Boas' first match in charge last August.
He was expected to be out for four months after undergoing surgery on the knee, but his comeback date has been put back several times as he has struggled to recover. There now appears to be light at the end of the tunnel for the 27-year-old, however, with Villas-Boas saying: "He has trained the last two days 100 per cent with the team."
Villas-Boas added: "He is going to rest on Friday and next week he is going to come back and train again with the team.
"If he doesn't feel any pain, it can mean he will be match fit in 10 days if it all goes without interruption - 10-15 days. But we have to be careful because it is a very sensitive situation for him."
Kaboul's return would be a welcome boost for Villas-Boas as he looks to hold on to fourth place during a tricky run-in which also includes games against Manchester City, Chelsea, and Saturday's trip to Swansea.
Villas-Boas' mission to restore his reputation in England will be complete should he take Spurs back in to the Champions League, but he may end up having to share the limelight in London should another Portuguese manager return to the capital this summer.
This week Jose Mourinho hinted that he would love to return to Chelsea, where he won the title twice during a turbulent three-year spell. Although Villas-Boas and Mourinho worked together at Chelsea, Porto and Inter Milan, the two are no longer on speaking terms.
That does not mean the Spurs manager would not welcome the return of the 'Special One' to England, however.
"He is a top coach in the world," Villas-Boas said. "This league continues to attract the best players in the world, if Jose Mourinho makes it clear he wants to come back it would be excellent for everyone."