By Greg Stobart
Tottenham and Barcelona are both set to hold talks this week over a move for Brazilian star Leandro Damiao, Goal.com can reveal.
The 21-year-old has been in stunning form this year for his club Internacional and has also attracted interest from Juventus, Roma and Benfica after scoring 16 goals in the Gaucho state championship.
But Spurs and Barcelona are leading the race for Damiao, with his agent Vinicius Prates due in London this week to hold talks with representatives from both clubs over a €15 million switch. The Catalans have already arrived in England ahead of Saturday's Champions League final against Manchester United at Wembley.
Tottenham believe they are in a strong position to land Damiao as manager Harry Redknapp looks to add a young striker to his squad with the potential to become world class. The Spurs boss also wants a more experienced forward and is considering moves for Didier Drogba, Diego Milito or Ruud van Nistelrooy.
The Londoners' chances of landing Damiao are boosted by their strategic partnership with Internacional, which was announced in August 2009 and paved the way for the €9.2m 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 from their time together in Porto Alegre and has been trying to convince his compatriot to join him at White Hart Lane next season.
Internacional own 70 per cent of the player's economic rights, with the other 30% being held by the player. Damiao, who made his Brazil debut against Scotland in March, is under contract until 2016 and Internacional have said they would ideally like to keep him until at least the end of the calendar year.
Goal-den prospect | Damiao netted 16 times this season in the Gaucho championship
Barcelona director of football Andoni Zubizarreta is a big admirer of the rising star – who has a total of 33 goals in 56 appearances for Internacional – and has repeatedly expressed his interest in the player. But while the Spanish champions are believed to want to sign a new striker in the summer transfer window, Villarreal star Giuseppe Rossi is understood to be their main target.
Tottenham are continuing to explore all their options should they miss out on Damiao, with Harry Redknapp due to meet chairman Daniel Levy this week to discuss a number of players the club have scouted in recent months.
Espanyol striker Dani Osvaldo and Lorient forward Kevin Gameiro are also being considered as players who could improve the club's strikeforce after a poor showing this season from Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe.
Meanwhile, Spurs have not completely given up hope of convincing goalkeeper Brad Friedel to join on a free transfer from Aston Villa even though the American appears to be close to joining Liverpool.
Friedel, 40, has been offered a one-year deal to move to Tottenham but is believed to be ready to accept the two-year contract on offer from Liverpool, where he would be back-up to first choice Pepe Reina.
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