Liverpool set to lose out to Spurs' spies

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According to The Telegraph, a series of unsuccessful transfers to Tottenham Hotspur has led to suggestions that Spurs may have a surveillance system in place at the heart of the club's scouting network.

Ok, so that may not be quite true, but it's astonishing the amount of transfer targets that have ended up in north London when Anfield seemed like the more likely destination.

The 25-year-old Brazilian Willian is the latest player to be added to this long list of players who have chosen White Hart Lane over Liverpool. Brendan Rodgers' side were the initial front runners in the deal and had opened talks about a £30 million deal, but like so many in the past Tottenham were ready to hijack the move in an attempt to bring the forward to Anfield - and this looks to have been successful.

Liverpool were in advanced talks to bring him to Anfield. It had been hoped that a deal would be announced in the near future, and it would have taken some of the transfer news on Merseyside away from Luis Suarez, who continues to dominate the headlines for the club this window.

There were reports yesterday that the two-time capped Brazilian had arrived in London for medial, and not Anfield, as Spurs look set to break their transfer record three times in this window - and the spending doesn't stop there.

Liverpool target Erik Lamela also seems to be heading to the capital. This is an all too common situation which the clubs have found themselves in a tug-of-war for players with the lure of Europa League football, meaning that Spurs come out on top in the battle more often than not.

On deadline day a year ago, it was Clint Dempsey who looked certain to be heading to Liverpool, when at the 11th hour the American international left Fulham for Spurs. In the weeks previous, Gylfi Sigurðsson opted for a more lucrative contract at Spurs - this was a loss for the man who had brought the player to this country at Swansea.

Go back another 12 months and even Liverpool’s efforts to sign Brad Friedel as back-up to Pepe Reina were undone when Harry Redknapp convinced the American he would get more first-team action at Tottenham.

One year later, the veteran stopper became the understudy of Hugo Lloris when he was signed on deadline day. It was even suggested Liverpool had to fight off Spurs' late move for Daniel Sturridge last December.

Officials at Liverpool's training base may not be sweeping the perimeter for spy equipment marked with a cockerel crest, it's more the fact that both these side are trying to be where they both think they should be - the Champions League.

Liverpool to be overlooked for top four teams is understandable, that Spurs are now perceived as a more likely Champions League participant next season is more worrying.

That is the truth that the most successful English club in the competition with five European Cups is now that reputation alone is not enough and Liverpool must get back into Europe to win the transfer tug of wars or look set to miss out on more talent.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan delivered the first major blow of the summer, joining the Champions League runners-up Borussia Dortmund.

It’s not simply about money and it is certainly not about the ambition of the club who are eager to spend but will not compromise on their refusal to repeat past mistakes of overpaying for under-performance.

For example, Liverpool paid £55 million on Downing and Carroll, but they have since moved to West Ham for a combined £20 million. A £35 million loss, the same sum which they paid for Carroll on the deadline day which brought him and a certain Suarez to Anfield.

Since that the fans have not had a marquee signing and it may be that Liverpool are just paying the price for finishing 7th, 6th, 8th and 7th in successive seasons, but also for all those high-profile transfer failures which has cost the club greatly.

Two weeks ago, Diego Costa and his representatives expertly exploited serious Liverpool interest to secure a new deal at Atletico Madrid.

Steven Jovetic also met Liverpool representatives prior to accepting a move to Manchester City.

Liverpool bought Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge instead of Dempsey and Sigurðsson. If their scouts deliver similarly sound alternatives, the blow of losing another target to Tottenham will be softened.

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