The former England assistant left Roma on Wednesday and is now set to land at White Hart Lane as the north London club look to strengthen up front by capturing the Brazil forwardEXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart
Tottenham have reopened talks to sign Brazil striker Leandro Damiao as they prepare to announce the appointment of Franco Baldini as the club's new technical director.
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Leandro Damiao is far from being that player who surprised Brazil, and later Europe, with the poaching skills that made him one of the deadliest strikers in South America in 2011.
He suffered a minor injury in the latter stages of that season, when his skills, combined with extra awareness from the defenders who began to mark him tightly, have made his perfomances drop significantly.
From 14 goals in 28 matches in the 2011 Brasileirao, the striker has 7 in 19 this year and it's therefore somewhat surprising that he's still able to find his way into the Brazilian national team, with his form far from the best strikers in the world
The Italian's appointment, as Goal reported in May, will see Tottenham return to a continental management structure. The 52-year-old is understood to have a good relationship with Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas, who he tried to appoint as Roma manager last year.
Baldini's contacts within the game and networking skills were a key factor in the Londoners' decision - and he will get straight down to work as the club target a top four finish next season.
Among his first tasks will be to take on the club's renewed push to sign Internacional's £15 million-rated striker Damiao, a long-term target who Spurs have unsuccessfully tried to sign for the last two-and-a-half years.
The 23-year-old, who scored 24 goals last season, will almost certainly leave Internacional this summer and is open to a switch to White Hart Lane despite his desire to play Champions League football. Villas-Boas remains a big fan, having urged the club to sign the player in the January transfer window.
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Marseille and Napoli have also been linked with Damiao but Spurs are confident of finally landing their man this summer as part of a summer overhaul of their strikeforce.
Damiao's agent, Vinicius Prates, left the door open for his client to move to White Hart Lane this week. "If it was just a matter of money, he would have left a long time ago," he told Zero Hora. "Leandro Damiao's dream is to play the World Cup.
"If he leaves, it will be to a big club, he is under contract until 2016 and the club gives him every condition for him to achieve that dream.
"Our idea is to always work with big clubs, all players dream of playing in the Champions League. But Tottenham are an important club in London, we can't rule them out."
Villas-Boas wants to sign two forwards this summer, with Damiao and Barcelona star David Villa the top targets and the likes of Roberto Soldado and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang considered alternatives.
Goal revealed last month that Spurs had made their move for £10m-rated Villa, who is keen on a move to the Premier League but is unlikely to make a final decision on his future until after the Confederations Cup.
The Spain international would command a salary worth around £110,000-a-week but Spurs hope to offset that cost by selling Emmanuel Adebayor this summer, while they are also open to offers for Jermain Defoe.