Lewis Holtby could still arrive at White Hart Lane four months earlier than expected with his current club, Schalke 04, reportedly looking to raise funds for their own January shopping.
Inside Futbol claims that the current deal, which was agreed on a pre-contract basis, is to be brought forward to allow the German club to bid for Lyon playmaker, Michel Bastos. The prospect of a January move seemed to be off the cards last week after sources at Schalke 04 said Tottenham had failed to meet the asking price of £1.5 million.
However, with both parties keen on a deal, there is common ground on which to build the negotiations. Spurs manager, Andre Villas-Boas, is also acutely aware of the need to draft in Holtby sooner rather than later after the news that Sandro would be ruled out for the rest of the season. With Tom Huddlestone at best in and out of the first team picture and Scott Parker still feeling his way back after injury, the German international is an acquisition AVB cannot afford to wait for.
And he will be cautiously optimistic that the talks will come to fruition, with Schalke’s general manager, Horst Heldt, saying in the Daily Mail:
We are in talks about a move in this transfer period, but there is no agreement. Tottenham contacted us, because they want Lewis now. We will decide in the coming days.”
Holtby again showed why he was a sought after man in this transfer window with a goal and two assists in his team’s brilliant 5-4 victory against Hannover 96. The match marked Schalke’s return to Bundesliga action after the winter break and moved them up to 5th.
After the match Holtby was asked about his current situation, and whether he would be staying in Germany until the end of the season.
The people in charge will deal with that and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens before 31 January. Against Hannover it was clear to see that I gave everything for Schalke and I’m not just going to leave without performing well here.
I’ll continue to do my best in every match. Everything else will be decided off the pitch by other people. Anything is possible.”
His performance only served to underline Schalke’s need to replace the 22-year-old. Questions still remain at the Veltins Arena about what will come after Holtby, and is Bastos the player to fill the hole?
Whatever the answers, their loss increasingly appears to be Spurs’ gain.