Football: Spurs sign Popescu: Sugar takes outlay to 7.5m pounds

TOTTENHAM Hotspur pulled off another stunning transfer coup yesterday when they signed the Romanian international sweeper Gheorge Popescu from PSV Eindhoven for pounds 2.9m bringing their outlay this season to pounds 7.5m on just three players.

Alan Sugar, the Spurs chairman, flew to the Netherlands by private jet to sign Popescu on a five-year contract after three hours of talks. 'I made it clear that the fee and wages must be within our budget and I achieved that,' Sugar said.

Popescu, 26, joins international colleague Ilie Dumitrescu and German Jurgen Klinsmann in an expanding 'foreign legion' at White Hart Lane and completes the jigsaw of which Ossie Ardiles, the manager, spoke this week.

The Department of Employment are unlikely to clear Popescu in time to play against Southampton on Monday, but Tottenham will hope to include him at Leicester today week. He has 55 caps.

Popescu's signing came too late to halt the slide in Tottenham share prices, however. On Thursday they fell 10p to 143p when Tottenham announced year-end figures showing a fall in profit from pounds 3.36m to pounds 885,000, and they fell another seven pence by close of trading yesterday.

Ardiles will now have to consider Premier League regulations when selecting his team. Only three foreigners are permitted per team and they have a fourth in the Israeli striker Ronny Rosenthal.

Another player whom Spurs showed an interest in this summer, the Brazilian Muller, is expected to sign for Everton this weekend.