LONDON (AFP) – Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas on Wednesday confirmed that the Premier League side were in talks with Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala over the signing of Brazilian attacking midfielder Willian.
According to British media reports, Willian arrived in London on Tuesday and Spurs are hoping to complete a move for him by the weekend.
Speaking during a media conference ahead of Tottenham's Europa League play-off first leg away to Georgian club Dinamo Tbilisi on Thursday, Villas-Boas admitted that negotiations were under way.
"I can't really confirm anything regarding Willian. There is interest in the player and there have been conversations," said the Portuguese, in comments widely reported in the British media.
Willian, 25, only joined Anzhi from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk in January, but he is being moved on after the Russian club's billionaire owner Suleiman Kerimov decided to restructure the club and drastically shrink their budget.
Reports in the British media claim Spurs are prepared to break their transfer record for the third time during the current transfer window by paying Anzhi ??30 million ($47 million, 35 million euros) to secure Willian's services.
The north London club paid ??17 million to sign Brazilian midfielder Paulinho from Corinthians before parting with a reported fee of ??26 million to bring Spain striker Roberto Soldado to White Hart Lane from Valencia.
The move for Willian would take Spurs' total spending in the transfer window to around ??90 million, but they are reportedly poised to sell star forward Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a world-record fee in excess of ??80 million.
Bale has not made the trip to Georgia for Thursday's game because of a foot injury.
Spurs, who finished fifth in the Premier League last season, opened the new campaign with a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace on Sunday.