Football: Graham delays player search

GEORGE GRAHAM will have to pay up to pounds 8m if he wants to sign the Blackburn striker Chris Sutton, and the new Tottenham manager may feel it is too high a price to pay to unsettle Chris Armstrong, Les Ferdinand and Steffen Iversen.

The three players are currently competing for two front-line positions at White Hart Lane and the early evidence is that the rivalry is paying dividends for Spurs.

Graham is still an admirer of Sutton, who he tried to sign for Arsenal from Norwich four years ago, but lost out to Blackburn. Rovers paid pounds 5m for Sutton and made him one of the best-paid players in the Premiership but now could be tempted to sell if they sign the Coventry striker Dion Dublin.

However, Graham has indicated he is prepared to delay any move into the transfer market until all his current squad have been given the chance to fully demonstrate their abilities. Midfield and defence are believed to be the key areas Graham will address first but he said: "I'm delighted with the response I've had from all the players in the few weeks I've been here.

"It seems obvious that we will eventually have to add to the squad, because Spurs only just avoided relegation last season and it is the same players still here.

"But there is not much top quality available on the market at the moment wherever you look and until the right player crops up I will work with the players we have here and get the best out of them."

David Pleat, Tottenham's director of football, tried to sign the midfielder Tim Sherwood from Blackburn before Graham arrived at Spurs from Leeds and there was speculation then that Sutton was also a transfer target. However, Spurs' pounds 3m bid for Sherwood was rejected by the Rovers manager, Roy Hodgson.

Pleat said yesterday: "Since then there has been no further contact with Blackburn and Sutton's name has never featured in our negotiations."

Tottenham showed the spirit and character Graham demands with a 3-1 win at Northampton on Tuesday night in the Worthington Cup when the slippery, rain-sodden conditions presented just as much of a test for them as the Second Division side.

Graham was saved a selection dilemma by Ferdinand's unavailability with an ankle injury and Armstrong scored twice, in partnership with Iversen, to ease Spurs' passage through to the last 16 after Sean Parrish opened the scoring for Northampton.

Iversen had a quiet game but the former Rosenborg striker has already scored three times this season as a substitute, including both goals in last Saturday's 2-0 win over Newcastle, and Graham has predicted a secure future for him at White Hart Lane.

If Sutton arrived at Spurs it would be seen as a setback for Armstrong, who believes he is back near his best form this season after nearly two years battling against an ankle injury which took three operations to repair.

He said: "Last season I came back and had a few games but in the end it was obvious I was playing without being properly fit.

"In the last few games, though, I have felt a lot sharper and I'm confident that, finally, I'm getting very close to 100 per cent again. All I want to do now is keep my place with Spurs and put the injury situation behind me."

David Ginola, who many believed would not fit into Graham's plans for Tottenham because of his flamboyant temperament, again showed at Northampton that he can produce outstanding skill, even in the worst conditions. But he is out of Tottenham's next match, at home to Charlton on Monday, when he will serve a one-match suspension after being booked five times this season. That total rose to six when he was shown another yellow card in Saturday's win over Newcastle.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software Implementation Consultant

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Recruitment Genius: Service Desk Co-ordinator / Client Services Administrator

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The successful applicant will s...

Recruitment Genius: Sales & Warehouse Assistant

£14807 - £15470 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This manufacturer and supplier ...

Ampersand Consulting LLP: Security Consultant (CREST/CHECK/OSCP)

£45000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Security Consu...

Day In a Page

Giants Club: After wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, Uganda’s giants flourish once again

Uganda's giants are flourishing once again

After the wholesale butchery of Idi Amin's regime, elephant populations are finally recovering
The London: After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

After 350 years, the riddle of Britain's exploding fleet is finally solved

Archaeologists will recover a crucial item from the wreck of the London which could help shed more light on what happened in the vessel's final seconds
Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

Airbus has patented a jet that could fly from London to New York in one hour

The invention involves turbojets and ramjets - a type of jet engine - and a rocket motor
10 best sun creams for kids

10 best sun creams for kids

Protect delicate and sensitive skin with products specially formulated for little ones
Tate Sensorium: New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art

Tate Sensorium

New exhibition at Tate Britain invites art lovers to taste, smell and hear art
Ashes 2015: Nice guy Steven Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

Nice guy Finn is making up for lost time – and quickly

He was man-of-the-match in the third Test following his recall to the England side
Ashes 2015: Remember Ashton Agar? The No 11 that nearly toppled England

Remember Ashton Agar?

The No 11 that nearly toppled England
Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks