Chimbonda to seal £5m Spurs deal as clubs line up for Johnson

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At the same time, Wigan have offered £7m plus midfielder Damien Francis to Crystal Palace for striker Andrew Johnson. However they face stiff competition from Bolton Wanderers, who yesterday had a bid of £8m rejected, probably because of the payment method proposed - and from Everton, who are thought to be favourites to sign the 25-year-old, who is certain to leave Selhurst Park this summer.

Wigan hope they are in a strong position for Johnson because they are prepared to offer money up front rather than staggering payments. Cash-rich Portsmouth are also in the running for the striker although their No 1 target is believed to be Wigan's Henri Camara, who was at Southampton when Harry Redknapp was manager there.

The Portsmouth chairman, Milan Mandaric, confirmed yesterday that he has also held talks with Red Star Belgrade over the 6ft 7in striker Nikola Zigic, who is available for £7m. He came close to joining West Ham United in January and is expected to move to the Premiership after the World Cup. "I hope to bring Zigic to Portsmouth," Mandaric said. "But Harry Redknapp will make the final decision. Harry is aware of Zigic's quality."

Wigan are, meanwhile, planning a £4m move for Chelsea's Robert Huth - one of the players named by manager Jose Mourinho last week who can leave the Premiership champions for first-team football elsewhere. The German international, 21, made only seven starts last season.

Huth will be monitored by the Wigan manager, Paul Jewell, at the World Cup and is also being looked at by Newcastle United and Aston Villa, as well as Bayern Munich. Wigan could try to wrap up a deal for the central defender before then because his price will increase if he puts in a series of strong performances.

It will be a busy summer for Wigan, who have already lost midfielder Jimmy Bullard to Fulham for £2.5m but who are determined to press on after this season's success.

Wigan had slapped a £6m price tag on Chimbonda, who stunned the club by handing in a written transfer request while still in his kit after the final game of the Premiership season at Arsenal.

Spurs initially bid £2m, then £3m and then £4m for the 27-year-old, although Wigan have stood firm on their valuation for the defender who featured in the PFA's team of the year. They are now expected to compromise slightly as they accept there is no point trying to hold on to the player.

The deal will nevertheless represent a healthy profit, Wigan having paid Bastia £500,000 for Chimbonda last summer. Wigan are interested in Spurs' reserve goalkeeper Marton Fulop but are adamant that they do not want to be involved in a player-plus-cash deal and will try to sign the Hungarian under a separate arrangement.

The arrival of Chimbonda at White Hart Lane will take the club's summer spending to almost £16m following the arrival last week of Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov for £10.9m. It also signals a change of policy at Spurs, which has been instigated by the head coach, Martin Jol, in wanting to complete their transfer business earlier in the window rather than wait until the final few days. Jol is adamant he wants more time to plan.

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