By Greg Stobart
Tottenham have renewed their attempts to sign Porto midfielder Joao Moutinho as they look to bolster their squad ahead of a push for a top-four finish this season.
Andre Villas-Boas is desperate to add more creativity to his Spurs side and has made Moutinho his top priority for the January transfer window after a proposed £22 million move for the playmaker collapsed on the final day of the summer window.
Moutinho had indicated that he had cooled on the idea of a move to White Hart Lane amid interest from Paris Saint-Germain and Zenit Saint Petersburg - but Tottenham have held fresh talks with Porto after receiving encouragement from the player’s representatives.
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The north London club are also battling with Liverpool and Arsenal to land Lewis Holtby from Schalke as he enters the last six months of his contract - but a move for the German midfielder is considered separate to their pursuit of Moutinho.
Villas-Boas was left frustrated with the failure to land his top target last summer but, with the team currently sitting third in the Premier League, chairman Daniel Levy will attempt to back his manager and resurrect a deal for the Portugal international.
Tottenham’s chances of landing the £25m-rated 26-year-old are uncertain given Porto’s presence in the last 16 of the Champions League, with the Portuguese champions notoriously tough negotiators and in little need of cash after selling Hulk to Zenit for £32m in September.
Moutinho would also demand wages in excess of £100,000-a-week while the relationship between the clubs is frosty after Spurs were angered by Porto’s conduct in the summer as they ran out of time to complete a transfer before the deadline.
The Londoners have once again made Moutinho their No.1 target after Villas-Boas - who made a personal scouting trip to Porto's Champions League clash with PSG last month - convinced Levy to make a fresh approach despite previously claiming a January bid for the former Sporting Lisbon man would be 'highly unlikely'.
Spurs are considering alternatives to Moutinho who could improve their chances of a top-four finish and a place in next season’s Champions League.
In addition to talks over Holtby, an enquiry has been made to Ajax for their £15m-rated playmaker Christian Eriksen although the Dane expects to stay at the Dutch club until the end of the season, while Shakhtar Donetsk star Willian appears out of reach.
Villas-Boas is also keen to sign a striker and a winger but will only have the budget for one big-money signing in January, with Spurs wary of the need to look after their finances as they attempt to fund their new £400m stadium.
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