Now I shall pre-empt this blog post with a few minor points:
1) I don't really know many people at Spurs myself. Anything I get is usually from other people, rather than hearing it first hand. These people are not guys who work the hotdog stalls on match days, obviously. They have genuine links to the club and the essence of what they say is genuine. Whether anything comes of what is said is another matter entirely.
2) I can sympathise about how infuriating this transfer window must be regarding 'Arry buying a striker. But rest assured he's trying.
It all started back in January when Redknapp and Levy held talks about the direction the club was taking and what it needed to do to go forward. The general consensus was that Spurs are going places, as long as they kept hold of their players and made some astute purchases in the transfer market.
As is the way with every one of the 92 league clubs, planning for the summer started in January. It's like in snooker - you watch the players take their shots but they are not planning for that shot, or even the one after it. They take their shot with the next six or seven in mind. That sort of applies here.
So, Spurs drew up a list of strikers - patently aware their current crop were struggling. Representatives of the club approached Atletico Bilbao regarding Fernano Llorente.
Now, I am not too sure about how strong this is, but a few people say a bid was made, or that there was a verbal exchange between the two clubs and the result was that Bilbao were aware that Spurs were ready to make a bid. It was apparently in the region of £17m.
You may feel that price is low but this is a typical thing that happens when clubs make the first move for a player. The first bid is there to test the water. Most clubs don't seriously think their first bid will be accepted; it acts as a marker for future bids and sets the pricetag teams can meet somewhere inbetween on. This was the case with Bilbao and Llorente.
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
Bilbao rejected the bid, or the talk of the bid. They did not want to upset the side by selling their star asset half way through the season. But Spurs, as is there way under Levy, would not go away and started to haggle. More talks were held and Levy wanted to know more about Bilbao's situation, what Llorente was like, whether they would sell in the future.
Bilbao, pleased by the way Spurs had conducted themselves, seemed happy enough to maintain talk with Tottenham and there was a gentlemen's agreement to resume the talk at a higher level this summer. Interestingly, the meeting was left with a proposition from Spurs - that Bilbao are welcome to play a friendly at White Hart Lane in the summer / take a loan player or two in the future.
AS AN ASIDE...
Spurs asked Villarreal about Rossi in January too, but once the word was £35m or nothing, they walked away immediately.
Only players from the Basque region play for Bilbao. It's one of their things. Just the way it is. Llorente is a Basque boy and the club's players are all extremely loyal. Bilbao do not want to sell Llorente to a team like Real Madrid and Llorente, a Basque boy, is said to not want to move to Madrid so as to anger the fans he loves.
As a result of this togetherness brought about by the Basque connection, the wages on offer at the club can only be described as modest. I don't have any exact figures - wages are a minefield - but I believe they're pretty small/medium. Similar to Spurs in a way.
SO WHAT NOW?
Spurs maintain an interest in Llorente and believe they are in a position where they can sign him. Obviously the transfer fee will be quite high, probably in the £25m region or perhaps higher, but Spurs are a well run club and have money to spend although their wage ceiling means that although big transfer FEES are possible, incorporating WAGES remains difficult.
However, considering Spurs have a bit of money, and considering the deadwood that would fetch a fair bit if they were sold (Keane etc) they are capable of signing Llorente. The wages are not even a big factor here. As mentioned, both clubs have modest wage structures and Llorente could earn similar/more at White Hart Lane than in Spain. Added to player departures, it's possible.
Interestingly, Spurs play Bilbao on Saturday and White Hart Lane.
As is 'Arry's way, he goes after as many people as he can. Very much the bull in a china shop approach. He wanted Vucinic, genuinely, and held talks with Roma (I think the talks were a bit more formal than Man Utd's talks - those ones were just general chit chat among agents, regardless of what the mouthy Roma lot say) but it didn't go that far. He signed for Juve today.
Spurs really wanted Damiao and still do, although his new contract clouds things. Again, Internacional were approached and talks were held. The clubs have a good relationship as a result of the Sandro deal and when that move was being sorted, there was an agreement that Internacional would approach Spurs with players they may be keen on. It's not a feeder club agreement per se, more a 'you scratch my back' situation.
Modric is the name on everyone's lips but as I have said and been told, there are two chances Modric will leave this summer:
1) Slim chance
2) No chance
Not even for the reported £40m that Spurs apparently value him at. Levy has been very public in this and he's said privately his position among the suits at Spurs, not least the fans, would be severely damaged if Modric was sold. Indeed, during the talk Modric had with Levy this summer, the chairman told Modric of his transfer plans this summer and the fact he sees Modric as the man to build the team around, and that with him in the team Spurs can regain CL football.
There is, however, a feeling at Spurs that if they fail to get top four this season, Modric will be allowed to leave. But for this summer? Nope. He's staying, regardless of what Chelsea want.
Defoe has rejected a move to Newcastle and interestingly, Redknapp is most keen to keep Pavlyuchenko out of his current strikers. If the right offer comes in for anyone else, then they can go. But Redknapp seems keen to keep Pav.
I don't know how enlightening I have been here really, but I hope I've given some insight to some Spurs fans who may have not been aware of certain things. I am confident Spurs will land a striker this summer. They seem to be working incredibly hard to do just that.
And before you ask, I know nothing about Mata, Barton or any other player that I haven't mentioned here.