Tottenham rival Fenerbahce in race to sign Younès Belhanda

• Montpellier confirm midfielder is for sale at £12m
• Spurs expected to renew interest after bid from Turkey

Tottenham Hotspur are expected to rival Fenerbahce for the signature of the highly-rated Montpellier midfielder Younès Belhanda after the French club's president, Louis Nicollin, confirmed he would allow the player to depart this month at the right price.

Belhanda was a key member of the French title-winning side in 2011-12 and, although his form has not been quite as impressive in a struggling team this season, Spurs were interested in him last summer and are understood still to be keen. The Morocco international, who is preparing for the Africa Cup of Nations in South Africa, plays as an attacking central midfielder or on the wing and would be attracted to the idea of a move to the Premier League.

Fenerbahce opened negotiations this week and offered about £6m plus add-ons for the 22-year-old, who has 18 months to run on his contract. That bid was rejected by Nicollin, who is seeking nearer £12m for the player.

"I will let him leave, and I think he wants to leave as well," said the club president. "If they rise to €15m, everything will go through."

A compromise at about £10m is thought to be enough to satisfy Montpellier and the Istanbul club are expected to return with an improved offer this week. But now the French champions have been made aware of Tottenham's renewed interest they will hope they can secure a more acceptable fee for the player.

Spurs will have Emmanuel Adebayor available for Saturday's derby against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road but will then lose the forward to the Africa Cup of Nations after he was persuaded to return to the Togo squad. Adebayor met the Togo president on Monday and other government officials on Tuesday and will captain the team at the tournament.

"Adebayor was received yesterday in Accra by the head of state [Faure Gnassingbé]," said Cleo Petchezi, the director of communications for the Togo presidency. "Discussions continued this morning in Lomé. Following them Adebayor has said he will return to his club and join the national team in a week."


Dominic Fifield

The GuardianTramp

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