London - Tottenham Hotspur striker Roberto Soldado is returning to Spain to sign for Villarreal, according to a tweet from his team mate Erik Lamela and Spurs fans Soldado bumped into at Gatwick Airport on Thursday.
Soldado, 30, who cost Tottenham a then club record fee of 26 million pounds ($40.63 million) when he joined from Valencia two years ago, failed to reproduce the scoring form for Spurs he had previously shown in Spain, with 16 goals in 76 matches in all competitions.
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He scored only one Premier League goal last season, and seven in all and although he remained popular with the fans for his never-say-die attitude, he never adapted to the greater physical demands of the English game.
Lamela's tweet all but confirmed Soldado's departure wishing him all the best at his new club.
The tweet came after Spurs fans posted pictures of themselves with Soldado at Gatwick Airport early on Thursday with the Spanish striker reportedly confirming to them he was flying out to sign for Villarreal.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino said last week that the striker was "in our plans" for the new season, but he had a different message when he spoke to the media on Thursday ahead of Saturday's Premier League match with Stoke City.
Although he said no deal had yet been finalised, he added: "He has been given permission to travel to Spain and the club will announce whether anything will happen or not."
Pochettino also said that Andros Townsend, who has been linked with a move away from White Hart Lane, was training with the squad after recovering full fitness and was part of his plans for the season, while confirming that Emmanuel Adebayor and Aaron Lennon, who spent time on loan at Everton last season, were not.
Spurs are reportedly close to completing the 12 million pounds signing of Cameroon international Clinton Njie from Olympique Lyonnais, with the 21-year-old striker having a medical in London this week.
($1 = 0.6399 pounds)