Tottenham want to sign Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby ahead of his previously agreed summer arrival.

Andre Villas-Boas feels he needs the youngster now after Sandro was ruled out for the forseeable future having undergone knee surgery.

Schalke's general manager Horst Heldt has not ruled out the sale of players during the January window, fuelling speculation in the media that Holtby will be at Spurs imminently.

There has been talk that Tottenham will pay a fee this month rather than sign the 22-year-old on a free transfer in the summer.

Heldt told Die Welt newspaper: "This transfer window will not close until the end of the month. We have signed Raffael and it could become a fact that we will sell or buy one or more players this month.

"We will have to wait on a certain progress in some affairs."

Tottenham take on Manchester United this Sunday having already beaten Sir Alex Ferguson's side 3-2 earlier in the season at Old Trafford.

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