Villarreal centre-back Mateo Musacchio is a step closer to joining Tottenham after the Spanish side signed Victor Ruiz on loan from Valencia on Monday.
Villarreal coach Marcelino admitted last week that Musacchio was set to sign for Spurs and left the Argentine defender out of his side's travelling party for the 3-0 friendly win over Swansea on Saturday as negotiations between the two clubs continued.
The Yellow Submarine were unwilling to part company with the 23-year-old until a replacement had been identified, but Goal understands the transfer moved closer to its completion after Ruiz was unveiled on Monday in a loan deal from regional rivals Valencia with a view to a permanent move next summer.
Musacchio has a release clause set at €50 million, but Villarreal are expected to settle for around €20m for the highly-rated Argentine defender, who has also interested Real Madrid and Barcelona in the past.
However, the Liga side only own 35 per cent of Musacchio's playing rights, with 35% belonging to his former club River Plate and the remaining 30% to the defender's representatives.
Villarreal want at least €15m of the total fee from Tottenham themselves for their most marketable player and hope the Premier League club and the player's agent, Marcelo Lombilla, can come to an agreement with River Plate over the remainder of the funds.
Musacchio is keen on a move to White Hart Lane and a link-up with compatriot Mauricio Pochettino, himself a fine centre-back in his playing days, but his agent will now need to renounce his 30 per cent stake for the deal to go through.
Villarreal's public stance, meanwhile, is that Musacchio remains a key part of the club's plans and president Fernando Roig has told local media the defender will be offered a new contract in the coming days.