By Greg Stobart
Real Madrid hope to complete a €44.4 million (£35m) deal for Luka Modric in the next week but Tottenham are facing difficulties in lining up a replacement for the playmaker.
Talks over Modric's departure from Spurs have stepped up this week and the Spanish giants have increased their initial €35.5m (£28m) bid as they move to land their top summer target.
The offer on the table is believed to be worth around €44.4m plus performance-related add-ons, while the possibility of a player-exchange is also being discussed.
Ricardo Carvalho, the former Chelsea defender, has been suggested as a makeweight while midfielder Nuri Sahin may yet move to White Hart Lane on a season-long loan despite rejecting the possibility of a permanent transfer.
Sahin is desperate to stay at the Bernabeu next season but is likely to find his opportunities limited, especially with Modric's anticipated arrival, and Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho could push the Turkish star towards the exit.
Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea have also made contact with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy regarding Modric but the 26-year-old is understood to have told the Londoners he has his heart set on a move to the La Liga champions.
Indeed, sources in Spain have suggested the Croat has already agreed a four-year contract worth around €152,000-a-week (£120,000) as he pursues his target of winning trophies and playing regularly in the Champions League.
All parties are confident that a deal will go through but Spurs are eager to line up a replacement before sanctioning the transfer of their star midfielder.
Joao Moutinho, the Porto playmaker, is the club’s main target after new head coach Andre Villas-Boas lost out to his former club Chelsea in the race for €28m-rated (£22m) Internacional star Oscar.
Moutinho, 25, is understood to have told Porto he wants to re-unite with Villas-Boas but the Portuguese club are refusing to drop their €38m (£30m) asking price.
Tottenham value the former Sporting star at around €25m (£20m) but hope that a compromise can be reached during talks planned in the coming days as they look to complete their transfer business before their pre-season tour of the United States.
As revealed by Goal.com in May, Tottenham have long accepted Modric's departure from the club this summer after they missed out on a place in the Champions League for the coming season.
Levy held firm to reject a £40m bid from Chelsea last season for the former Dinamo Zagreb man but assured Modric he would listen to offers this year if the team failed to attain a place in Europe's elite competition.
Modric cost Spurs £16.5m in 2008 and selling him for £35m-plus would facilitate the club's plans for a £70m summer spending splurge.
Spurs have already signed midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson from Hoffenheim for €10m (£8m) and defender Jan Vertonghen from Ajax for €12m (£9.6m).
In addition to Moutinho, they are also working to bring Emmanuel Adebayor to the club for £5m from Manchester City and are preparing to offer €17m (£13.5m) for Lyon and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
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