Espanyol chief executive Ramon Robert has offered a public reminder to Tottenham Hotspur of the looming deadline on their option to complete the permanent signing of loanee Pau Lopez, insisting that Los Periquitos would be happy to retain the goalkeeper on a long-term basis.
Lopez, stuck firmly behind captain Hugo Lloris and regular deputy Michel Vorm in Mauricio Pochettino's established pecking order, failed to make a single first-team appearance in English football last term after completing a €500,000 season-long loan move to White Hart Lane on transfer deadline day in August 2016 that was rumoured to include a €7m purchase option.
Such a complete lack of first-team football has not deterred Spurs from pursuing a full-time deal for the 22-year-old, with IBTimes UK revealing last month that Espanyol were demanding at least £4m for the signature of a player who is out of contract next summer. That is double the value of Tottenham's opening offer, which was quickly dismissed.
With Tottenham frustrated in their attempts to secure a cut-price deal, it was subsequently reported that the Premier League runners-up had decided to withdraw from negotiations and that only a major U-turn would see talks reopen. It has also been claimed that Spurs will incur a €500,000 fine if they decide against signing Pau.
Addressing the ongoing saga this week, Robert reiterated that Tottenham have until 30 June to complete any deal and that Espanyol would welcome Pau back to the RCDE Stadium with open arms.
"There is an option to buy until June 30 and if Tottenham do not pay it, he will be an Espanyol player," he was quoted as saying by the Evening Standard. "If he wants to finish his career here, we will all be very happy to have him."
If Pau did return to Catalonia, he would serve as back-up to Diego Lopez. The veteran custodian completed a permanent switch from AC Milan to Espanyol in May after making 35 appearances during a productive loan stint under Quique Sanchez Flores.
Speaking to Marca recently, Pau, currently on international duty with Spain at the Under-21 European Championships in Poland, claimed he had enjoyed his experience at Tottenham but would be happy to return to his parent club.
"I knew I wasn't going to play much but I wanted an experience in the Premier League," he said. "I knew that by going abroad, I would be outside my comfort zone and that makes you grow up as a man and as a player.
"I'm very happy with the experience. For the time being, I'm a Tottenham player until June 30. I don't know what will happen but if I have to return to Espanyol, I'll be happy. Espanyol is my home, I've been here [at Espanyol] eight years."