This looks real. Tottenham want to clear out their midfield glut. It started with a miraculous £10m sale of Paulinho to Guangzhou Evergrande FC, and it continues with Benjamin Stambouli and Étienne Capoue heading into the London suburbs for newly-promoted Watford.
When it was just the Mail running the story, we could reasonably be skeptical. Now it's Sky sources, and most importantly they're not saying it's "close" or there's been an "approach." Instead, Sky Sports reports a done deal on the club side:
Watford have agreed fees with Tottenham to sign their French midfielders Etienne Capoue and Benjamin Stambouli, according to Sky sources.
Capoue, 26, is understood to be close to agreeing to personal terms and negotiations are also ongoing with Stambouli, although an agreement with the 24-year-old is still some way from being reached.
So the sticking point is wages. Capoue is basically done, while Stambouli is fighting for more money. The overall deal could possibly be delayed, or indeed scuttled, if the players can't agree on new contracts. But I tend to think this will happen. It seems unlikely that Stambouli's going to get a better deal than Watford, unless he wants to stay at Spurs and ride the bench again, so I would expect that both agreements will get done.
There are no reports in Sky of the transfer fee, which was listed by the Mail at £10m combined. Given that Capoue has proven himself a quality EPL midfielder and Stambouli never got the chance either way, that would be a disappointing fee for the pair. Especially given Daniel Levy's transfer history.
What I like, though, is getting business done quickly. If Tottenham can move three unwanted midfielders within a week of the transfer window opening, that is going to make it all the easier to get the actual 2015-2016 squad lined up and training together.