Football: Hagi is Spurs transfer target

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The Independent Online
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR are believed to be on the trail of Gheorghe Hagi, the Romanian captain. Alan Sugar, the Tottenham chairman, is understood to be planning to fly to Italy to meet representatives of Brescia, the Serie B club where Hagi plays.

After his exceptional performances in the World Cup, Hagi is likely to be in demand with a number of leading European clubs this summer. Barcelona are also interested in the 29-year-old, who has scored three goals in the World Cup and has been a key figure in Romania's passage to the quarter-finals.

Sugar will have other matters on his mind today as he makes a 'layman's plea for leniency' at a Football Association appeals tribunal following last month's decision to punish Tottenham for irregular payments to players.

Sugar has the support of Gordon Taylor, the Professional Footballers' Association chief executive, who has urged the FA to reduce its penalties imposed on Tottenham. They were fined pounds 600,000, deducted 12 points from their next FA Premiership campaign and banned from next season's FA Cup.

Four clubs will be relegated from the FA Premier League at the end of next season and with their handicap that would spell almost certain doom.

'The punishment was just too severe,' Taylor said. 'It's easy to be wise after the decision has been made, but I think it would have been better if Spurs had had a bigger financial penalty and no points deducted. I think that's what the FA might decide.'

Sugar will make his appeal without the aid of his lawyers. 'The legal arguments are over and Alan Sugar will stand before the commission and make a layman's plea for leniency,' his adviser, Nick Hewer, said.