The possible sale of Etienne Capoue to Napoli is being held up by Tottenham who are demanding too high a fee for a player they only just bought last summer.

According to Tutto Mercato Web Napoli manager Rafa Benitez is a huge admirer of the 25-year-old Frenchman and would love to a player with his defensive midfield qualities at Napoli.

The Italians however do not want to pay over the odds for a player who is not even a starter at Spurs with manager Tim Sherwood preferring to play 19-year-old academy graduate Nabil Bentaleb in his place.

Spurs signed Capoue last summer from Toulouse for £9million and now according to his agent they are asking too much money for him.

Martha Fischer said: “The problem is not the player or Napoli – Tottenham just want a lot of money. What they’re asking for is absurd. But we are only on January 21, and there is still hope.”

The deal maker is Tottenham’s suggestion of including Napoli striker Goran Pandev in exchange which could interest the Italians despite the Macedonian international having scored six goals with three assists in 13 starts for Napoli this season.

If negotiations drag on however Napoli may turn their attention to Inter Milan’s Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarín now that a deal to trade Juventus striker Mirko Vucinic has broken down.