Chelsea look to have beaten Andre Villas-Boas' Tottenham Hotspur in race for Brazilian prodigy Oscar
Chelsea appear to have beaten Tottenham Hotspur to sign the highly-rated Brazilian midfielder Oscar in a deal understood to be worth more than £22 million.
Tottenham Hotspur had hoped to steal in ahead of some of Europe’s leading clubs last week to secure the 20 year-old from his club Internacional.
However, Chelsea have now tried to hijack the deal and are expected to be successful.
It will come as a blow to Spurs’ new manager, Andre Villas-Boas, who was in charge of Chelsea until March, and who had identified Oscar as a key signing.
Oscar has already earned five senior caps for Brazil and has also been included in his country’s squad for London 2012.
He will join several other Brazilians at Chelsea, including Ramires, David Luiz and Lucas Piazón.
His arrival will be another significant sign that Chelsea are not only determined to improve their squad but also working hard to reduce the average age.
They have already secured Eden Hazard, who is still just 21, Marko Marin, 23, while releasing Didier Drogba, José Bosingwa and Salomon Kalou and being open to offers for other players including Florent Malouda and Michael Essien.
Oscar will add further to Chelsea’s attacking and creative options, something owner Roman Abramovich has made a priority.
The club have already bid £17 million for the German international striker, Andre Schürrle, who is just 21.
Telegraph Sport first revealed Chelsea’s interest in Schürrle but the club’s offer has been rejected by Bayer Leverkusen.
It remains to be seen whether Chelsea will make an improved offer although it was indicated to them earlier this year that a bid of just under £20 million would be accepted. Leverkusen now appear to have changed their minds.
Chelsea have also remained interested in Luka Modric, and made a fresh inquiry recently, having pursued the Croatian all last summer.
However, Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is adamant that he will sell the midfielder only to an overseas club.
Real Madrid’s interest in Modric has cooled after the Spanish club initially suggested a player-plus-cash offer.
Real had proposed offering the Turkish international midfielder Nuri Sahin and possibly also the former Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho plus cash for Modric, whom Levy values at £50 million. Spurs have no interest in Carvalho.
It is also understood that Chelsea remain interested in Porto striker Hulk but will not pay anywhere near the £60 million the Portuguese club still appear to be demanding.
If Spurs lose out on Oscar, Villas-Boas will continue to hope that he can hold on to Modric, who is threatening to submit a transfer request, while also considering a bid for Porto’s Joao Moutinho. Porto are thought to be demanding £32 million for the player.
Spurs have already secured midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, for £8 million from Hoffenheim, and defender Jan Vertonghen, for under £10 million from Ajax, as Villas-Boas goes about reshaping the squad.
The Portuguese welcomed the first-team players back for pre-season training yesterday and Spurs also announced the appointment of a first-team coach. Luis Martins has previously worked at Sporting Lisbon, where he helped develop Cristiano Ronaldo and Moutinho.
He will not be Villas-Boas’s No 2, with the new head coach set to also appoint an assistant before the club’s pre-season tour to the United States this month.