Luka Modric will be unveiled as a Real Madrid player after they hammered out a £27million move for the midfielder on Sunday night.
The fee is a blow for Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, who was holding out for a figure in the region of £35m-plus.
Spurs are desperate to bolster their squad after a slow start to the season and the money will help fund moves for two Brazilians they are chasing — Willian of Shakhtar Donetsk and Leandro Damiao of Internacional.
Manager Andre Villas-Boas is keen to sign at least three before the transfer window shuts on Friday.
Fulham’s Moussa Dembele is much admired at White Hart Lane and Spurs scouts also watched France striker Loic Remy come on as a second-half substitute on Sunday as Marseille beat Montpellier 1-0.
The north London club continue to pursue young defenders too, with Liam Moore, 19, of Leicester watched in their 2-1 defeat at Blackburn. Moore also interests Manchester United and Everton.
Tottenham remain keen on Ezekiel Fryers, 19, the former United defender who has signed for Standard Liege but could be pursued in January.
A Spurs deal for Fryers fell through, with United looking for £6m in compensation from any English club that signed him.
QPR plan to resume negotiations over a deal for Tottenham defender Michael Dawson today but he is reluctant to leave White Hart Lane. Stoke will also revisit a loan for Tom Huddlestone.
Another midfield target of Spurs, Rennes’ Yann M’Vila, is also on a list of Arsenal targets but the Gunners may prefer a £15m move for his France teammate Yohan Cabaye of Newcastle.
Manager Arsene Wenger, who initially targeted Newcastle’s Cheick Tiote and also wants another defender, said: ‘I anticipate that we will do something. Defensive midfielder? It depends on the quality of the players available.’