Big-spending AVB believes time right to make statement of intent

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Big-spending AVB believes time right to make statement of intent

Bale has been a crucial figure in Tottenham’s recent derby successes over Arsenal, scoring three times in the four derby wins he has tasted since moving to White Hart Lane in 2007.

But Spurs will have to do without their talisman this time as he is nearing a world-record move to Real Madrid.

Tottenham have fared well without Bale so far, winning all four of their opening matches without conceding a goal following a summer spending spree that broke the £100 million barrier yesterday with the signings of Erik Lamela from Roma, Vlad Chiriches from Steaua Bucharest and Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen.

Romania centre-half Chiriches sealed an £8.5m deal, Lamela arrived for a fee thought to be around £25.8m while Eriksen cost about £10m. That has left Villas-Boas in a confident mood ahead of the game at Arsenal, who are yet to spend a penny in the market so far this summer.

“We have the quality to go there and win,” the Tottenham manager said.

“I think we will set up to try to win the game and hopefully achieve the result we want.”

Tottenham maintained their 100% record on Thursday night with a 3-0 win over Dinamo Tbilisi at White Hart Lane, completing an 8-0 aggregate success.

In truth, Dinamo were hardly tough opposition for Spurs — that much was evident last week when the Londoners won 5-0 in the Georgian capital.

Tottenham have only just scraped by in their opening two league matches too, with penalties from Roberto Soldado securing 1-0 victories against Crystal Palace and Swansea.

Villas-Boas’ starting 11 still lacks that bit of creative magic Bale brings to the table, but the Portuguese hopes Lamela and Eriksen will remedy that.

Lamela, who has three Argentina caps, moved to Roma from River Plate two years ago and he quickly become recognised as one of the hottest properties in Europe.

He scored 21 goals in 67 appearances for the Italian club, where he played in a number of positions across midfield.

Lamela arrived in London on Wednesday night, but Tottenham would not comment on the player’s potential signing for fear that another club may snatch the midfielder from under their noses with an 11th hour bid.

With the deal for Eriksen now going through, it is likely to trigger Bale’s world-record move to Real Madrid.

However, when asked whether Tottenham would have to up their game to win tomorrow, Villas-Boas replied: “Yes. It is a different type of proposition on Sunday but it has special ingredients of a game that is unique in English football and full of emotion.

“Hopefully, if we set up properly, the match for sure will be a great game, because both teams want to play, want to win, want to attack, and hopefully it can be a present for the fans.”

Theo Walcott started the verbal sparring between the two teams earlier this week when he dismissed suggestions that Arsenal have a weaker squad than Spurs, even though his team have only signed Mathieu Flamini and Yaya Sanogo on free transfers this summer.

Villas-Boas was reluctant to be drawn into an argument with Walcott, but the Spurs manager conceded Arsenal do have the advantage of having a more settled squad thanks to their inactivity in the window.

“Our objective is to be stronger,” Villas-Boas said when asked about the Arsenal winger’s claim.

“The advantage that they have is that they know each other very, very well from the past because they are a side that has been built together for these last years and, without having new faces, they don’t have to worry about building something.

“They’re already in there, the Arsenal way of playing.

“And we have lots of new faces and still have to build our own style of play.”

Villas-Boas will assess Aaron Lennon over the next 24 hours to see if the winger has recovered from the foot injury that has kept him out of the last two matches.

Jermain Defoe and Lewis Holtby are pushing for a place in the starting 11 after impressing while scoring in the Europa League tie on Thursday.

Tottenham will be grateful for their large squad this season as they will clock up around 8,500 miles on their travels in the group stages after being handed a logistically challenging draw for the group stages yesterday.

Spurs have been drawn in Group K along with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala, who are from Dagestan but usually play their European games in Moscow, Moldova’s FC Sheriff and northern Norwegian side Tromso, who are located inside the Arctic Circle.

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