Villas-Boas keen on Willian, won't sell VDV
Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has strongly hinted that he is interested in signing Willian from Shakhtar Donetsk and said he has no intention of selling Rafael van der Vaart.
Villas-Boas has already moved to strengthen his squad in recent days with the return of Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City, but is expected to be busy in the transfer market before the close of the window next week.
With Luka Modric set to sign for Real Madrid - Villas-Boas said he hopes Spurs can conclude his sale "in the next couple of days" - Shakhtar Donetsk star Willian, a target for Chelsea last season, is believed to be on their radar.
"He is a player that I was interested in last year - an extremely talented player," Villas-Boas said. "I wouldn't want to go very deep because I feel it would be disrespectful for Shakhtar, which is a club I have a good relationship with, so the only thing I can tell you is that last year when I was at Chelsea I was interested in the player."
Villas-Boas also denied reports that Van der Vaart is surplus to requirements after Gylfi Sigurdsson started ahead of him for Saturday's 2-1 defeat to Newcastle.
Hamburg have confirmed that are keen to sign the Netherlands international but, asked whether he was planning to sell him, Villas-Boas said: "No, on the contrary. He's a player of great importance for us, a player I count on.
"I'm not sure if Hamburg are interested but he's a player who at the moment is not for sale. Anything can happen but he's a player we are counting on."
He added: "Rafa was very unlucky because when he came from his vacation after the Euros he got injured in the game against LA Galaxy so he missed most of our pre-season in America and Sigurdsson was with us all pre-season.
"He couldn't therefore play against Watford and Valencia so he came back late for selection and it was pretty straightforward to select Sigurdsson for the Newcastle game. Now Rafa has trained with us all week and he's looking strong and in contention."
One player who is likely to leave is centre-back Michael Dawson, who is in talks with Queens Park Rangers after Spurs accepted a bid.
"I don't think it's a gamble," Villas-Boas said. "We have four good players - it's already enough. We have Steven Caulker, who went through a fantastic Olympics and has gone into the national team in England; we have William Gallas, an experienced central defender with Premier League titles and World Cup titles; Younes Kaboul is a French international and Jan Vertonghen is a Belgian international.
"Dawson is an excellent leader of this dressing room - an excellent player, an English international. When I spoke to the player we had a good conversation because Michael has, obviously, high expectations to play.
"What I told him is I can't promise any player that he will be playing in two weeks' time, three weeks' time, four weeks' time. I don't know how it happens."