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Romanian center back Vlad Chiricheș might still move to Tottenham

Netherlands v Romania - FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - MARCH 26: Vlad Chiriches of Romania in action during the Group 4 FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier match between Netherlands and Romania at Amsterdam Arena on March 26, 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

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After a hiccup in the negotiations in early August, Steaua Bucharest center back and Romanian international Vlad Chiricheș could still be on his way to the Premier League. Tottenham Hotspur was on the brink of closing the deal when Steaua owner Gigi Becali canceled it.

The kicker: Becali was in jail when he made the call, serving a three-year sentence for shady business involving land exchanges. He used his one allowed phone call per day to call general manager Mihai Stoica and kill Chiricheș's transfer.

(MORE: Vlad Chiricheș: Eastern Europe’s next big export?)

Chiricheș's agent is Victor Becali, Gigi’s brother. He told DigiSport last week that the player was set to sign for “over €1 million a year, plus a house and a car, for five years. If he came on well, his salary would have increased after the first year.”

The €8 million transfer fee on the table would have made Chiricheș the most expensive Romanian to leave Liga 1 to date. AS Roma also put in a bid for the 23-year-old defender with 19 caps to his name.

Steaua’s rationale for keeping Chiricheș was that he was vital to the club’s UEFA Champions League qualification campaign. However, he mysteriously withdrew from the squad just before Wednesday’s 1-1 tie with Legia Warsaw, sparking rumors that the move was back on.

“I tried to get over it as quickly as possible,” Chiricheș said in a prematch press conference on Tuesday about his failed transfer. “I really don’t think it looked in the games afterward like I was affected.”

Official word was that he picked up a knock in training the day before the match against Legia, perhaps aggravating a hip injury that already existed. Romanian scout and reliable transfer market bellwether Radu Baicu had a cryptic update on Chiricheș's situation Thursday:

Can’t go into details, but Chiriches will leave #Steaua before the end of this transfer window. #THFC

— Radu Baicu (@rbaicu) August 22, 2013


To be fair, Baicu doesn’t say where Chiricheș will go. But for now, it seems Tottenham’s bid to strengthen its back line could be close to completion.

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