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Tottenham close in on Villa

By Greg Stobart in Rio de Janeiro

Tottenham are closing in on a deal to sign David Villa after the Barcelona star confirmed he would like to move to White Hart Lane during talks with the player and his representatives, Goal has learned.

The Spain striker has reached a broad agreement on personal terms to move to Spurs this summer and is eager to play in the Premier League.

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has spoken informally to Villa on the phone while the club's new technical director, Franco Baldini, has held productive discussions with the 31-year-old's agent.

Spurs officials are understood to have been in Brazil last week, where they held talks over a deal for Villa - who is in the country for the Confederations Cup - while also reaching a 17 million agreement to sign Paulinho from Corinthians.

11/2 Tottenham are 11/2 with Bet365 to finish as the top London club next season
The Londoners believe that they are in a strong position to land Villa despite reported interest from Fiorentina but they hope to convince Barca to lower their 14m asking price.

Tottenham are ready to pay around 9m for Spain's all-time leading scorer, who has just one year left on his contract at Camp Nou and, due to his age, has little sell-on value.

Villa himself has said that he will decide on his future after the Confederations Cup, where Spain have booked a place in Sunday's final against hosts Brazil at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro.

Spurs are willing to pay the attacker more than 117,000-a-week but the former Valencia man is understood to have accepted that he must take a reduction on his 163,000 weekly salary at Barcelona.

Villa-Boas has made Villa his top final-third target for the summer transfer window as he looks to boost the club's forward line and improve Spurs' chances of a top-four finish next season.

Spurs tried to rival Arsenal for the Spaniard's signature in the January transfer window but Barcelona refused to sell the forward midway through the season.

The Gunners have dropped their interest in Villa while Barcelona are now prepared to sell the striker, who would find his opportunities further limited next season following the arrival of Neymar at the Liga giants.

Tottenham are looking to conduct their major transfer business early this year and have agreed a deal of 18m plus 2m in add-ons to sign Paulinho.

The 24-year-old is expected to sign an initial four-year contract and undergo a medical after the Confederations Cup final on Sunday, having scored the late winner in Brazil's semi-final win over Uruguay on Wednesday.

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