Spurs look to clean up Ajax talks
Tottenham have ramped up their interest in Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen following their admission that Gareth Bale is on the verge of sealing his world-record move to Real Madrid.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas confirmed on Wednesday that Bale could complete his transfer to the Spanish capital "very, very soon".
Knowing the strength of Real's desire to sign Bale, Tottenham have played a cunning game all summer with regards to their star player's departure.
Banking a huge fee for Bale at the start of the summer would have cranked up the asking price for most of their targets, so chairman Daniel Levy has quietly gone about his transfer business, signing four players for around £60million while Bale remained on their books.
Erik Lamela landed in London on Wednesday night and he is expected to undergo a medical ahead of a £25.8million move from Roma, and Eriksen is next on Levy's shortlist.
The Spurs chairman was in Amsterdam on Wednesday to discuss the possibility of signing the midfielder, who has just one year left on his current contract, and it appears the talks have progressed well.
"Yes, Levy was here and Eriksen has been given permission to speak to Tottenham," Ajax director of football Marc Overmars told De Telegraaf.
Tottenham are reported to have offered around £8million for the 21-year-old, but that falls some way short of Ajax's £12million valuation.
"There is no agreement yet until it's signed," Overmars added.
"Obviously, if it happens, we won't be happy at all to lose him but he only has a year left on his contract."
Levy had hoped Bale would remain at Tottenham, but after acknowledging the Welshman had his heart set on a move to Madrid, he drove to get the highest fee possible for the player.
Levy hoped that Bale would sit patiently and wait for the deal to be concluded, and that was the case for most of the summer.
Bale was laughing and joking with Tottenham players and staff at the club's base in Enfield a fortnight ago, but things have turned sour this week.
Bale did not report to the training ground for two successive days, much to Villas-Boas' annoyance.
The Portuguese used to enjoy a close relationship with Bale, but that is clearly not now the case and the Spurs boss wants to see the winger fined before he leaves for the Bernabeu.
"The fact that he hasn't turned up, I don't think it's the correct behaviour," the Tottenham manager told a press conference ahead of Thursday night's Europa League play-off tie against Dinamo Tbilisi.
"It's a position of pressure and a statement from the player. It's a position they chose to take. It's up to the club now to decide if it's a fineable offence.
"It's up to the club to decide whether or not it's a breach of club rules. I've given my opinion on it, it's up to them to decide whether they act on it or not.
"It is a dream move for him but I think in the end this could have happened in a different way."
Real Madrid vice-president Fernando Fernandez Tapias accused Tottenham of holding up the deal.
Speaking in A Coruna, ahead of a friendly match against Deportivo La Coruna on Thursday evening, he said: "There are problems but in the end I think it will happen. I thought he was going to be here, but so far he's not in Madrid, although he possibly will be."
As for whether the deal will go through, he said, according to Spanish news agency Efe: "I think so, but I couldn't swear on it. We're going to wait because they are dragging their feet.
"There is no doubting Bale's class, but Real Madrid without Bale is a great Madrid, we have a team of warriors."