By Tony Banks
TOTTENHAM and Chelsea were last night locked in a £15million battle for France striker Loic Remy.
Both London clubs have moved for the 25-year-old France striker ahead of tomorrow’s transfer deadline as they search for an affordable frontman.
Spurs watched Remy at the weekend and have turned to the Frenchman as an alternative to Willian after Shakhtar Donetsk put a £20m price tag on the Brazilian.
And last night Chelsea also moved into the running for Willian, who can play through the centre or on the right.
Blues owner Roman Abramovich has been thwarted this summer in moves to bring Porto striker Hulk and Napoli’s Edin Cavani to Stamford Bridge because of the asking prices, but Remy is seen as a cheap but high-class alternative.
Chelsea need a striker who can play off Fernando Torres or stand in for him in their lone striker system, with their only other option at the moment being Daniel Sturridge.
Andre Villas-Boas’s radical reshaping of his Tottenham squad continued as Rafael van der Vaart moved closer to a £12million switch to Hamburg.
Spurs yesterday completed the £15m capture of Belgium’s Moussa Dembele from Fulham and moved a step closer to the signing of France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris in a £12m deal, as chairman Daniel Levy’s last-ditch transfer window manoeuvring reached its traditional fever pitch.
Van der Vaart is on standby to fly to Germany for talks with his former club as both Spurs and Hamburg moved nearer an agreement on a fee for the Holland international midfielder.
Hamburg chairman Carl-Edgar Jarchow said last night: “There is not a lot of time. It is really up to Tottenham Hotspur.
“If we have a chance to sign him, we’ll do everything we can to make that happen.” Spurs value Van der Vaart, a key figure in the team under previous manager Harry Redknapp, at about £14m – almost double the fee Levy paid Real Madrid for the 29-year-old two years ago. Hamburg, though, are hoping to talk the price down using Van der Vaart’s close connections at the club, where he had a successful three-year spell. His wife Sylvie still works in Germany.
Dembele yesterday penned a four-year deal at White Hart Lane after completing a medical on Tuesday night, with Spurs having triggered a £15m get-out clause in his contract.
The Belgian midfielder Tweeted: “Happy to confirm I signed a new contract with Tottenham FC.”
Spurs have also agreed a £12m fee with Lyon for Lloris, and the France international was mulling over the move last night.
But Levy’s move for Willian looks to have ground to a halt.
Ukrainian club Shakhtar want about £20m for the striker, who has also been a target for Chelsea.
Levy travelled to Ukraine at the weekend to place Tottenham’s bid for a player they see as a direct replacement for Croatian Luka Modric – who joined Real Madrid this week – but Shakhtar rejected his £12m offer.
Spurs could go back with an improved bid today, but are unwilling to meet Shakhtar’s valuation.
Remy has been a regular goal-scorer for Marseille – who are keen to raise money to fund their loan deal for QPR midfielder Joey Barton – and he also offers Champions League experience.
But Chelsea’s participation in that competition this season could swing any possible deal.