London – Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas insists the constant speculation over Luka Modric's potential transfer to Real Madrid has not distracted him from preparing for his first Premier League match in charge of the north London club.
Villas-Boas has had to deal with Real's disruptive pursuit of Modric ever since taking over from Harry Redknapp early in the close-season and the Croatia midfielder's future is still not resolved.
Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has been holding out for a transfer fee of around £40 million ($62 million) and the Spanish champions took until this week to improve their offer to a figure closer to that asking price.
After agitating for the transfer to go through quickly, Modric was banished to train on his own, but former Chelsea boss Villas-Boas has refused to let the saga ruin his plans for the new camapign, which kicks off for Spurs at Newcastle on Saturday.
“No, this is not a distraction,” Villas-Boas said on Thursday. “We set out a plan for the player and we have stuck to it.
“The player is training individually and he doesn't disrupt our environment. I think we will have a conclusion in the next couple of weeks.
“We expect him here to train. He is still a Tottenham player but from what the chairman has told me talks are ongoing, they stalled a little bit two weeks ago, but they have picked up recently.”
Villas-Boas would now like the situation resolved as soon as possible so he can use the funds to buy a replacement for Modric and bulk up a squad that currently has only one recognised striker in Jermain Defoe.
“Obviously we have outlined a couple of solutions (for a Modric replacement),” Villas-Boas added.
“We have made initial contact with a couple of clubs but I think before this situation is resolved we can't do anything because we already have a certain amount of players in that position.”
Tottenham have been looking to sign a striker, but talks with Manchester City about Emmanuel Adebayor have not yet been successful.
Villas-Boas remains hopeful that the Togo striker, who was on loan at White Hart Lane last year, could still join before the transfer window closes on August 31.
“There are talks (with City). They have been happening for quite some time,” he said.
“We have touched on different players in that position, but we have not been able to conclude a deal.
“Our focus and attention is towards that position, which we will try to sort out next week.” – Sapa-AFP