Andre Villas-Boas thinks that paying £1.5million for young German international Lewis Hotlby was “the deal of the century” for Tottenham Hotspur.
London club Spurs had already agreed to sign Holtby on a free transfer from Schalke at the end of the season- itself a remarkable piece of business, considering his growing stature in the game.
It was odd that a player of Holtby’s quality was able to run down his contract in the first place.
And when Spurs lost midfielder Sandro to injury for the rest of the season, they knew Hotlby was the man they needed to replace him.
And so splashing just £1.5m on a player who could propel them into next season’s Champions League was a no-brainer for AVB, and more importantly his boss at Spurs, chairman Daniel Levy.
Holtby is a full German international, and a hero at Schalke.
He can play anywhere in the midfield, but AVB has earmarked the playmaker’s position as the perfect place to utilise Holtby’s cultured left foot.
The Portuguese tactician is so anxious to set Holtby’s talents in action that the half-English 22-year-old may even feature against Norwich on Wednesday night.
Asked by journalists if Holtby’s capture was “the deal of the century,” AVB said: "Yes, I think so.
"The January market is very, very demanding. Transfer fees can be ridiculously high. But on Lewis's case, it was the opposite so we managed to make a good deal and bring him in early."
"It's difficult to find a 22-year-old full international running down his contract and we were extremely lucky because we faced tough competition for him," Villas-Boas continued.
"There was competition from all over. He's recognised as an excellent young talent and he was very willing to come to Spurs. He has done extremely well in Germany and we have high expectations for him. It is a major boost that we managed to have him in January."
AVB will deploy Holtby in a creative role behind Spurs’ strikers, in the position previously filled by Rafa van der Vaart at White Hart Lane.
Since the Dutchman left, Spurs have tried to replace him with Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson, both of whom have sparkled in fits and starts.
But so highly-rated is Holtby, that he is likely to quickly replace his new American and Icelandic team-mates as Tottenham’s first-choice number 10.
"He will fill the number 10 position, although he can play right or left, which he did for Mainz at the beginning of his career," Villas-Boas said.
"We have the expectation because of his creativity and we can compare him to Rafa [van der Vaart] to a certain extent because he was a full international coming from a big club. Lewis has all of his career ahead of him."