Tottenham have stepped up interest in Argentina striker Mauro Zarate. The Metro believes the South American, who is struggling for game time at Italian club Lazio, could be available for free in the summer.
The 26-year-old is reportedly asking the Rome-based club to terminate his contract, after a season that has seen him make only one appearance, in all competitions. However, Lazio are believed to be reluctant to allow that; they want a transfer fee of £5m.
Regardless of the transfer fee, Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas has been in contact with Lazio and is understood to be ready with a year-long deal for Zarate. The Velez Sarsfield youth product has prior experience of the Premier League, having spent loan time with Birmingham City in 2008. He scored four times in 14 appearances for the club.
AVB will have to fight for his man though, with the Metro believing Sunderland are also interested in the striker. In addition, Liverpool were linked with a move for Zarate in November but Brendan Rodgers has not followed up on his interest.
Zarate is understood to be a technically gifted player, who can play anywhere across the front line. Tottenham do have England international Jermaine Defoe and Togolese forward Emmanuel Adebayor on their books for now, with further reports of a move for Leandro Damiao.
AVB on Swansea Win
Meanwhile, AVB has also spoken on the weekend's 2-1 win over Swansea City. The north London club rode on goals from Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen and Welshman Gareth Bale to move into third place in the Premier League and re-stake their claim for Champions League football next season.
"The result proves the winning mentality this team has. Sometimes when the opponents take over in motivation and enthusiasm because they have scored, you have to be tactically responsible and the boys were unbelievable," the Portuguese boss told the club's Web site.
The result means Spurs have a two point lead over Chelsea in fourth. The Blues slumped to a 2-1 defeat to Southampton in their weekend tie but do still have a game in hand over their London rivals.