Asier Illarramendi Real Madrid
Tottenham has targeted Real Madrid defensive midfielder Asier Illarramendi with less than a week left in the summer transfer session. Getty Images

Though he continues pursuit of a striker to bolster the attack, Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino is also playing to his side’s strengths with Real Madrid defensive midfielder Asier Illarramendi the latest transfer target before next week’s deadline.

According to The Guardian, Spurs were contending with La Liga’s Real Sociedad for the 25-year-old Illarramendi, after Real Madrid added Mateo Kovacic and Casemiro to new manager Rafa Benitez’s lineup. On Wednesday, it was confirmed that Sociedad have landed the star for €17 million, plus add-ons, according to ESPN.

It's back to the drawing board for Spurs, but there are other options. Illarramendi would have allowed Spurs to part with winger Erik Lamela, perhaps freeing up sizable resources to add more experience to the attack. Italian outlet Gazzetta reports Lamela, 23, has engaged in talks with Serie A’s Inter Milan and the Argentine’s father, Jose, confirmed the report.

"I can confirm that we are in talks with the Nerazzurri," Jose Lamela said. "Their interest in Erik is real. We are waiting for updates over these next few days. There is a willingness on our part to begin talks with the club.

"Italian football is likely more suited to him and his characteristics. He settled well in Italy and had two great seasons with Roma. It would be a welcome option for us.

"He would like to return to Serie A. We will see what happens in these final days of the transfer window."

Spurs dished out £30 million to Roma for Lamela in 2013, but he’s failed to impress with only two goals in 45 appearances.

Meanwhile, Spurs continue to tussle with West Bromwich over a suitable fee for striker Saido Berahino. Daily Mirror reports Pochettino and White Hart Lane officials are preparing a third bid after the Baggies rejected a £21-million bid earlier this week.

West Brom are reportedly holding out for a £23 million fee and add-ons, which they can very well command since Pochettino evidently believes Berahino is the “ideal” partner for star scorer Harry Kane.

The Hawthorns chairman, Jeremy Peace, has publicly insisted Berahino won’t be moved after he netted 20 goals last season. But the 22-year-old’s transfer request could serve as a distraction for the team moving forward, leaving West Brom with less than a week to work out a fee.

"Our position remains unchanged,” Peace said. “The sale of this player is not on our agenda."