Tottenham prepare last-ditch £16.5m bid for Brazilian star Leandro Damiao

Spurs will test Internacional with a fresh offer before the transfer window closes on Wednesday, with the youngster considered a possible replacement for Peter Crouch
EXCLUSIVE
By Greg Stobart

Tottenham will make a fresh £16.5 million move for Brazilian striker Leandro Damiao before the transfer window closes on Wednesday.

Spurs made a £12m bid for the 22-year-old earlier in the summer but Internacional, his Brazilian club, were reluctant to let their star man leave before the end of their domestic season in December.

Leandro appeared to commit his immediate future to Internacional by signing a new five-year contract in June but Spurs have been convinced to up their offer due to his stunning recent form.

Spurs sources have told Goal.com that they still feel it is unlikely they will sign Damiao in this window but they hope to sign the youngster to replace Peter Crouch, who is the subject of a bid from Stoke and is also a target for Sunderland.

Internacional president Giovanni Luigi appeared to offer encouragement to Spurs last week when he refused to rule out the possibility of the Brazil international leaving the Porto Alegre-based club this month.

"We will see, we are going to wait. Right now, there is nothing about Damiao. We want him to stay, but I do not want to make a firm statement about this," Luigi told Radio Gaucha.

However, Inter's board of directors was criticised in 2009 for selling Nilmar to Villarreal during the Brazilian season and many critics felt it cost the club the title at the time. Luigi says he has received the message and has spoken with confidence of Inter's desire to keep Damiao until at least January.

Tottenham have been tracking Damiao for over a year and held extensive talks in May over a move for the youngster, who is also reported to have attracted interest from Barcelona, Arsenal, Benfica and Juventus.

With Damiao's reputation reputation as one of the best young attacking players in South American football increasing by the game, Spurs fear they will be beaten to his signature if they wait until the January window to make a renewed bid.

Tottenham have already completed the signing of Emmanuel Adebayor on a season-long from Manchester City but manager Harry Redknapp is eager to further improve his frontline. His side badly lacked a cutting edge up front as they were thrashed 5-1 by City at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Spurs believe they are the strongest position to sign Damiao due to their strategic partnership with Internacional, from whom they signed midfielder Sandro for £8m 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.

However, Tottenham's chances of concluding a deal before the transfer window shuts are complicated by the fact that Damiao's economic rights are split, with Internacional owning 70 per cent of the rights and the player owning the other 30%.

The forward has not reached the international appearance criteria to automatically qualify for a work permit and the club would need to be granted special dispensation to complete a switch to White Hart Lane.

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