Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United's hopes of securing a deal for Belgian international Toby Alderweireld have been boosted after Spartak Moscow pulled out of negotiations with Ajax for the centre half.
The 24-year-old has been consistently linked with a move to the Premier League this summer but Russian outfit Spartak stole a march on the competition and agreed a fee with the Dutch champions in recent weeks.
But the likes of Tottenham, Everton, Liverpool and Newcastle may have another chance to bring the defender to the Premier League as reports from Belgium suggest Spartak have pulled out of a deal after a cheaper alternative suddenly became available.
The Ajax defender has repeatedly stressed that whatever decision he makes regarding ahis future will be one based on his own sporting ambition, also suggesting he would seriously consider a move to Russia.
However Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad report that Spartak have now turned their attention to Joao Carlos of Anzhi, hopeful that the new financial restrictions placed upon their Russian rivals will help them secure a deal for the Brazilian defender at less expense.
Last week Alderweireld discussed his prospective move to the Russian capital and despite an appreciation for the growing quality of the league, admitted a move to the Premier League would be more appealing.
"Spartak Moscow is an option, but I will have to think," the Belgian said, speaking to the same publication last week. "You know Russia is far from home, but then the level is higher than in the Netherlands.
"To be honest, I do prefer England over Russia. Every footballer dreams of playing football in the Premier League. Everton, Tottenham, Newcastle? We will see what options I have."
Alderweireld has entered the last year of his contract with Ajax, but doesn't feel he will be forced to leave this summer.
Having already rejected the opportunity to join Norwich City earlier in the transfer window, the 24-year-old has insisted on a number of occasions that he will renew his stay at the Amsterdam Arena if the right move does not come along.
"At Ajax I am pretty sure of my place," he continued. "And a year before the World Cup that is also an important point."