Tottenham may be about to bolster its depleted attack by signing Roman Pavlyuchenko from Spartak Moscow after the Russia striker said he is set to join the Premier League club.
The reluctant sale of Robbie Keane to Liverpool and a lengthy impasse over Dimitar Berbatov's likely transfer to Manchester United left Tottenham with only Darren Bent up front for its opening two Premier League matches.
A pair of defeats and Bent's difficulty in adapting to the lone forward role have increased Tottenham's need to sign a new striker. Pavlyuchenko has been linked with Spurs since scoring three goals in Russia's surprise run to the European Championship semifinals in June and could now be about to move.
According to Wednesday's edition of Moscow-based sports daily Sovetsky Sport, Pavlyuchenko returned to Moscow from Kiev on Tuesday for talks with Tottenham officials.
"Tottenham has already made a formal proposal," Spartak chairman Valery Karpin was quoted as saying by Sovetsky Sport. "They have made us a firm offer and we are happy with it.
"As long as Roman agrees to sign a deal with the club, we are prepared to let him go. Footballers don't get chances like this all the time, maybe only once in a lifetime. If Roman goes to England, it will good for Tottenham and for himself."
Karpin did not say what the transfer fee would be, indicating only that it is less than the Russian record Ђ30 million Zenit St. Petersburg paid for Portugal midfielder Danny this week.
Sovetsky Sport quoted the player as saying money was not the motivating factor in his desire to leave.
"That is not the reason for the move," Pavlyuchenko told the paper. "The only thing that has kept me from moving is my family. It was difficult for me to imagine how my wife and daughter could move from a place they are used to. I was also embarrassed that I could not speak English.
"But my doubts are all behind me now. I have decided I will sign with Tottenham. Formalities will be settled in a day or two. I will fly to England to sign the contract."