Spurs boss: Tottenham are “highly unlikely” to resurrect Moutinho deal

Andre Villas-Boas says Tottenham are “highly unlikely” to pursue Joao Moutinho in January after narrowly failing to sign him on deadline day.

Spurs were close to landing the FC Porto playmaker in the final hours of the summer transfer window, but ran out of time as they raced to complete the deal.

The Lilywhites were expected to try again at the turn of the year – but Villas-Boas says the north Londoners have abandoned their pursuit of the Portugal star.

“We were prepared for missing out on that player,” said Tottenham’s head coach. “We set our sights on that player in the end of the transfer window - we couldn’t conclude the deal but we were ready if that failed.

“It’s not likeable that we go back in January. Generally the market is very difficult and very expensive, and it’s highly unlikely that we will continue to pursue that transfer because by then we will have [Scott] Parker coming back, and he’s a player that we want to come back as soon as possible.

“He’s a player who had maximum importance for this club last season and we feel that he can add so much to the squad that we are waiting for the moment when he can come back, so it’s just a question that we have to reassess at that time.”

Meanwhile, Villas-Boas has reiterated his intention to keep faith with Brad Friedel at Reading on Sunday, despite the arrival of France No1 Hugo Lloris.

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Asked if Lloris could make his debut at the Madejski Stadium, Villas-Boas replied: “At this moment no, and this was explained to Hugo in a conversation with him.

“At the moment we feel that Brad is looking consistent and deserves bearing in mind his last performance against Norwich, and against West Brom, which was extremely positive.

“We have had the conversation with Hugo - we are extremely happy that he is part of this squad and we have no doubts about his talent and his future in the club, but at the moment in preparation for the game against Reading we have made the decision to continue with Brad.

“If you think about our recent signings, you see that the only one who played at the beginning was [Gylfi] Sigurdsson at Newcastle - all of them went to the bench and then made steady progress to become first-team players, and this was the case with Jan Vertonghen and [Mousa] Dembele.

“There is no contract where you have to be entitled to a first-team place. We don’t work like that at Tottenham and not any team in the world works like that - but we have looked to further restrengthen our squad, and that is exactly what we did.

“At this moment in time, and bearing in mind Brad’s performances, it was extremely unfair for Brad not to keep this position in goal. It doesn’t affect the fact that we made one of the biggest summer transfers.”

Villas-Boas has also refuted suggestions that he was marginalised in the decision to sign Lloris, and that he has been given an undesirable and awkward situation by his chairman Daniel Levy.

“If the decision was not made by myself I wouldn’t be sitting here in front of you speaking to you,” he said. “This is the most important situation of all - we’ve decided that bearing in mind what we want to do regarding the future, we needed to bring a player of Hugo’s talents to the team as soon as possible.

“Bearing in mind the market price that we got for Hugo, and bearing in mind that he is Lyon’s goalkeeper, the French no1 and French captain, it was an excellent grab for us and we look forward to a good future with Hugo.

“He told me that ‘I’m here to compete and I’m here to prove that I’m the best’. When you hear this from a player you know that the commitment is there for him to make sure that he gets into that position, so there is no issue whatsoever.

“Hugo fully understands his position. He has made his own reflection about the situation and he fully understands.

“Will he be on the bench? I haven’t made the decision yet. We will go through one more training session tomorrow and then we will decide.”

Villas-Boas will also have to weigh up whether to include Clint Dempsey and Sandro in his line-up at Reading, following their flights back from international duty.

“Things went well for us in terms of the international break,” said the head coach. “Obviously a couple of players returned late - Wales played in Serbia and Iceland played in Cyprus.

“Dempsey also played in the US and returned late so obviously a couple of players are jet-lagged – mainly Dempsey and Sandro from Brazil, but there are no major injuries and we are fortunate to play on Sunday, to have this extra day of recovery and preparation.”

Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs