Premier League - Spurs 'missed out on Moutinho by minutes'

Tottenham missed out on signing Porto's Joao Moutinho by just a few minutes, according to a report in the Sunday Telegraph.

The Portuguese star was Andre Villas-Boas's top target for the summer, the paper claims, with the Spurs boss seeing him as the perfect replacement for Real Madrid-bound Luka Modric.

Spurs chiefs agreed a fee with Villas-Boas's former club Porto, with the Portuguese side agreeing to sell one of their prize assets after the player himself asked to be allowed to link up with AVB again.

Moutinho apparently agreed personal terms as well - but the deal then snagged over two multi-million pound payments to third parties which could not be ironed out in time.

Initial paperwork was submitted to the Premier League by 9pm, entitling Spurs to an hour's extension on the usual midnight deadline.

But there were two sticking points: the demand for £3.8m of the transfer fee demanded by Moutinho's former club Sporting Lisbon, and the £3.6m demanded by a mysterious "investor".

Such late failures to push deals through have become worryingly common at Tottenham in recent years, with Harry Redknapp famously missing out on a deal for Charlie Adam by just a few minutes in the January 2011 window.

But Villas-Boas remained philosophical about the late collapse of Moutinho negotiations.

"We agreed the player terms late but there were situations regarding the contract that were not right so we didn't complete the transfer but we have cover enough," he said.

"Moutinho's transfer not happening should not overshadow that we got one of the biggest coups of the transfer market with (Clint) Dempsey. Now we have a rest to the transfer speculation and look forward to getting the team right."