Football: Spurs beat Leeds to sign pounds 2.6m Scales

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Leeds United were last night left with egg all over their faces after Tottenham Hotspur triumphed with a late bid to sign John Scales for pounds 2.6m.

The 30-year-old central defender accepted a three and a half year deal at White Hart Lane only hours after Bill Fotherby, the Leeds chairman, had said that the Harrogate-born player would be paraded at Elland Road today.

Liverpool agreed a fee with Leeds, believed to be about pounds 3m, on Friday but Spurs, alerted to the fact he had become available, then moved in. "Spurs did make a bid for him, but there is no question in my mind that John will be joining us," Fotherby said. "He is a Leeds boy and this is where he wants to be. He knows this club is moving forward."

Emerson will be welcomed back with open arms by his Middlesbrough team- mates if he ends his exile and returns from Brazil. The pounds 4m midfielder has missed his side's last two home games, but team-mate Neil Cox promised him a warm reception in the Boro dressing-room. "The boys want him to come back and play, and the boys will stick by him," Cox said.

Boro, who have refused to contemplate allowing Emerson to leave, are expecting the Brazilian back from Rio this week along with wife, Andrea, who, according to the player, has not been well. His mother has also put her foot down, vowing to put him on the plane to England personally.

Troubled Brighton will today come under the scrutiny of a Football Association commission who are visiting the Goldstone ground as part of an investigation into ground disturbances there.