Tottenham Hotspur are confident of signing the Everton winger Kevin Mirallas after Atlético Madrid dropped their interest in the Belgian.
Mirallas is expected to move to White Hart Lane in the summer, with Aaron Lennon completing a permanent switch in the opposite direction to Everton.
Tottenham’s move for Mirallas will raise further question marks over the future of England international Andros Townsend, who is already worried about his place in head coach Mauricio Pochettino’s pecking order.
Everton rejected an inquiry for Mirallas from Spurs in January, but are willing to accept a bid for the unsettled 27-year-old at the end of the season to help their move for Lennon.
Roberto Martínez has confirmed that he wants to make Lennon’s loan move permanent, with the 28-year-old valued at about £7 million by Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.
Tottenham had feared they could miss out on Mirallas to Atlético, who also showed an interest in January. But the Spanish club will look elsewhere in the summer now. There are concerns inside Atlético that Mirallas could not cope with combining La Liga and the Champions League.
Pochettino is a big fan of Mirallas and believes the former Olympiakos man can give his team an added attacking threat and help to implement his style of pressing the opposition to greater effect.
Mirallas can play on the left or the right, which suggests that Townsend could face a battle to start regularly if he stays at Spurs.
Townsend will ask for clarification over his future over the summer, with Southampton still interested in the 23-year-old.
There is also interest from Serie A in Townsend, who scored the spectacular equaliser in England’s draw with Italy in Turin last month.
Townsend has been in and out of the Tottenham team this season and was left on the substitutes’ bench for the victory over Newcastle United at the weekend. He is desperate to go to next summer’s Euro 2016 finals and knows he must play regularly to be assured of a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad.
While Tottenham may be reluctant to let Townsend leave, at least eight first-team squad players will be free to find new clubs this summer. Other than Lennon, Spurs will listen to offers for Emmanuel Adebayor, Roberto Soldado, Mousa Dembélé, Paulinho, Étienne Capoue, Younès Kaboul and Vlad Chiriches.
Former manager Harry Redknapp has criticised Tottenham’s recruitment policy. “They have bought players in and haven’t spent wisely,” Redknapp said. “The players that have been brought in aren’t down to the manager.
“The big signings that have come in have been a disaster. That is something Daniel [Levy] is going to have to look at.
“The recruitment was poor. They have changed that around now and I think they have new people coming in. They have to make sure when they make more signings, they’re better than the ones they’ve got.”
On Pochettino, Redknapp added: “I think he’s excellent. He is a great guy as well. But let’s be honest, they haven’t pulled up any trees. Finishing sixth or seventh is certainly not going forward. But he needs another year.
“Really, he’s been rescued by the kids this season – Harry Kane, Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, Danny Rose, Andros Townsend, Kyle Walker. They have been the best players at the club and have probably kept them going.”
Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris is poised to return for their trip to Southampton on Saturday. The Frenchman has missed the past three games as a result of the badly gashed knee he suffered against Leicester City last month.