FC Porto insist they will not sell midfielder Joao Moutinho for anything less than the £31.5mn release clause in his contract, following interest from the Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur have been strongly linked with the 25 year old as new Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas is understood to be keen on re-uniting with the Portuguese international, while Manchester United have also been credited with an interest. However, the Portistas' manager, Vitor Pereira, said the club intented to keep the player if potential suitors failed to meet his release clause.
"I have not spoken with Villas-Boas but it is natural that he likes Moutinho. I like him, too. Clubs cannot just not sell. We really want him to stay but this is football and there are such things as release clauses. The only thing we can do is achieve results with what we have got," ESPN quoted Pereira as saying. Moutinho has three years remaining on his contract with the club and Villas-Boas, who worked with the midfielder when he was in charge at the Estadio do Dragao, has expressed his interest in snapping up the player.
"He was one of the most important players at Euro 2012. He had a fantastic tournament. He was an important player for Porto in the two seasons in a row when they won the title. Those sort of players will always be interesting to us. It doesn't mean it's the only target we're looking at, but if something happened then of course we would look upon him with some interest," The Sun quoted the 34 year old as saying.
It is understood Moutinho is seen as a direct replacement for want-away midfielder Luka Modric, who has been linked with a move to La Liga champions Real Madrid. Villas-Boas admitted that although the Croatian international was a valuable asset to the club, they might have to let him leave this summer.
"I think Luka is a player of tremendous importance for this football club, and it has been like that since he joined the club. The interest that we have from various different clubs shows the importance of the player and what he has done for Tottenham. The willingness is there from the player [to leave] but a player of this importance is not easy to part company with. I think ongoing discussions with these various clubs will continue until we reach an agreement which is sensible for each party," Sky Sports quoted the former Chelsea manager as saying.