TOTTENHAM’S protracted hunt for a new striker hit another stumbling block yesterday when it emerged that one of their summer targets, Barcelona’s David Villa, is set to join Atletico Madrid.
The Catalan club have agreed to sell the 31-year-old, who is Spain’s all-time record scorer with 56 goals in 92 games, to their domestic rivals for just £4.4m, subject to a successful medical.
Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas is believed to want to sign a centre-forward before next season to compete with Jermain Defoe and potentially replace Emmanuel Adebayor, who has attracted interest from Besiktas.
Brazil international Leandro Damiao has been on the north London club’s wanted list for more than two years but Tottenham are thought to have cooled their interest in the Internacional player.
Arsenal’s attempts to bolster their attack have also been frustrated after Real Madrid indicated that they do not want to sell Gonzalo Higuain.
The Spanish club’s president Florentino Perez denied that the Gunners had made an offer, amid suggestions of a £23m deal for the Argentinian.
“We don’t want Higuain to leave,” said Perez. “No-one from Arsenal has come to us and made us any offers at all for him. There are no offers on the table.”
Arsenal have also been credited with a failed bid for Liverpool’s controversial striker Luis Suarez, who has said he is unsettled on Merseyside.
Everton manager Roberto Martinez is expected to sign a second player from former club Wigan this week after agreeing a deal, thought to be worth around £6m, for striker Arouna Kone.
Paraguayan defender Antolin Alcaraz, whom Martinez also signed for the Latics is set to be reunited with Kone and the Spanish boss at Goodison Park, having become a free agent. Wigan, relegated to the Championship last term, have signed Norwich’s Grant Holt as a replacement for Kone.