By Greg Stobart
Tottenham will make an improved offer of £12 million for Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao after having an opening bid turned down by Internacional.
The Brazilian club have confirmed they rejected a £10.5m bid from Spurs lodged earlier this week but talks are ongoing between the two clubs for the highly rated striker who is also being tracked by Barcelona, Benfica and Juventus.
Internacional have asked for £17m for the 21-year-old but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is looking to haggle the price down and is hopeful that a second offer of £12m will be accepted.
As revealed by Goal.com UK last month, Tottenham have made Damiao one of their leading summer targets as manager Harry Redknapp plans to rebuild his misfiring strikeforce.
Damiao has scored 22 goals in his last 24 games for Internacional and their coach Paulo Roberto Falcao has admitted it is “inevitable” that his star man will leave the Porto Alegre-based club.
Confirming Tottenham's opening bid, Internacional president Giovanni Luigi said he anticipated a second offer and declared his desire to keep Damiao until the end of the calendar year.
“It was the first concrete offer we’ve had,” said Luigi. “I said I didn’t want to sell now, but I think they will come back with another attempt. I warned that he’ll only leave at the end of the year and for more money.”
Tottenham are in pole position to sign Damiao thanks to their strategic partnership with Internacional, which was announced in August 2009 and paved the way for the £8m signing of midfielder Sandro last summer.
Sandro, who has been a huge success since breaking into the Spurs side, is a close friend of Damiao and has been trying to convince his compatriot to join him at White Hart Lane next season. “He is a very strong guy, he is the perfect size for English football, he can do very well here,” the midfielder told Brazilian reporters last week.
Internacional own 70 per cent of the player's economic rights, with the other 30% being held by the player, who is under contract until 2016. He made his Brazil debut against Scotland in March and is likely to feature in Brazil's upcoming friendlies against Holland and Romania.