Tottenham looks abroad for new signing

Tottenham Hotspur, the North London Premier League football club, is looking for its first acquisitions overseas following its decision last week to appoint Deutsche Morgan Grenfell (DMG), the investment bank, as financial advisers.

Chairman Alan Sugar is believed to be looking at taking a sizeable stake in at least one foreign football club. He is eyeing up targets throughout Europe and the Far East. The appointment of DMG, which will oversee the hunt for acquisitions, is likely to accelerate a deal. An acquisition could be announced by the end of the year, according to industry sources.

A spokesman for Tottenham said: "We are having a look to see what is available overseas and export our expertise of running a football club. We have a desire to expand overseas and there are all sorts of opportunities available."

Tottenham is thought to have looked at leading clubs throughout Europe, including teams in Holland, Spain, Italy and Portugal. A host of leading clubs in these countries are looking to raise extra funds by floating on the stock market or selling stakes in their businesses.

Tottenham has also been linked with Chinese teams and has been attracted to the country by the vast potential audiences available. The game's popularity is beginning to take off in China, which could lead to huge merchandising opportunities. Tottenham would also be able to expand worldwide sales of its own merchandise by teaming up with a foreign club. Tottenham is one of England's best-known clubs.

A deal could involve the regular transfer of players between the clubs, which would help improve Tottenham's erratic performance on the field. On Saturday they lost 3-0 to Leicester and dropped to ninth in the Premier League table despite recently buying new players such as Les Ferdinand.

Mr Sugar is keen to do a deal and is under pressure to bolster Tottenham's flagging share price, which closed at 94.5p on Friday, well below its 12-month high of 142p.

However Tottenham is facing competition from Caspian, the parent company of Leeds United, in the race to be the first quoted British club to take a stake in an overseas rival. Caspian is reported to be in talks to buy a 20 per cent stake in Sporting Lisbon, a leading Portuguese club which is looking to float on the stock market.

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