Tottenham and Inter Milan face off on Thursday for the first leg of the two clubs' UEFA Europa League knock-out tie. The first leg is at White Hart Lane which should hand Andre Villas-Boas' side an advantage.

Ruben Botta (R)

And in addition to matters on the pitch, the two clubs could also lock horns in the race to sign Argentina midfielder Ruben Botta. A report by talkSPORT indicates Spurs and the Nerazzurri have both had scouts to watch the 23-year-old, who plays for Argentine Primera Division club Tigre.

Botta is rated very highly by sources familiar with South American football and the left-footed midfielder has three goals this season, from 14 appearances in the country's top division. The player's contract expires at the end of this season and he is expected to confirm a move to Europe after that.

Andre Villas-Boas' Spurs have Champions League ambitions and the north London club are in an excellent position to realise those dreams; they are third in the Premier League, with a two point lead over fourth-placed Chelsea and seven over local rivals Arsenal.

An earlier report by the Metro suggested a fee of around £7m could be enough to convince the Argentine club to release their star.

One Eye on Bale

Meanwhile, Inter Milan captain, Javier Zanetti, has joined the long list of people praising Welsh international Gareth Bale for sensational performances in recent weeks.

Javier Zanetti (L) and Gareth Bale

The 23-year-old Spurs star has 16 goals from 25 Premier League appearances and nine strikes from his last six games for the club, in all competitions; the run includes two in two games against Ligue 1 side Olympique Lyon, in the earlier round of the Europa League. And that kind of form has earned him strong interest from Spanish champions Real Madrid.

"We hope to be able to play a good game in London even though we're aware of the difficulty. And we know that Bale plays a huge part in that," the long-serving and legendary Inter captain told Tutto Sport.

Inter will have good reason to fear Bale for it was against the Nerazzurri that the Welshman rose to prominence in European football. That was back in 2010, when Spurs were in the Champions League and Bale scored an absolutely brilliant hat-trick, at the Giuseppe Meazza, despite Tottenham playing with only 10 men. The north Londoners were beaten though, with goals from Zanetti, Dejan Stankovic and a brace from Cameroon striker Samuel Eto'o winning the day for the hosts.