Peter Crouch will have a medical at Tottenham Hotspur today after the club agreed a £12m deal which makes the England striker the club's biggest earner.
Spurs have beaten off competition from Fulham to secure the services of Crouch, who will join up with Harry Redknapp for the fourth time in his career after agreeing a four-year deal.
The expected reluctance of the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, to match Crouch's £70,000-a-week Portsmouth salary had looked like the impediment to the 28-year-old England international following Redknapp from Fratton Park to White Hart Lane. But Tottenham's desire to sign him – which would suggest that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar of Real Madrid, is out of their grasp – has helped to see off Fulham, the only other side ready to compete for his services after Sunderland's withdrawal last week.
Crouch spent just one season at Fratton Park after joining from Liverpool, but the Portsmouth manager, Paul Hart, said yesterday that the club have no choice but to cash in, despite the bold promises of prospective new owner Sulaiman al-Fahim. In a declaration which raises new doubts about Fahim's general air of optimism, Hart said that Portsmouth fans must ready themselves for a period of financial restraint.
"People need to realise that Pompey have been punching above their weight and could no longer sustain the level of spending that has gone on here over the last three years," Hart said. "Even though a new owner is poised to come in our dealings in the market will be modest in comparison to the past."
Crouch's move to north London takes his career full circle and returns him to a club with which he signed schoolboy terms at the age of 14, but left in 2000 for Queen's Park Rangers, without having been given a chance in the senior team. This will be the seventh major move and one which reinforces his push to be an integral part of Fabio Capello's plans for next summer's World Cup in South Africa. For Redknapp, it means the strike partnership between Crouch and Jermain Defoe, which was so effective for him on the South Coast before he departed for Tottenham, is back together.
Crouch's move appears to have prevented Hull City moving for Fulham's Bobby Zamora. Roy Hodgson had allowed Zamora to speak to Hull manager Phil Brown as his own pursuit of Crouch continued. But despite an agreed fee of £5m, Hull were not ready to improve Zamora's personal terms. With the striker seemingly of more value to Hodgson, the deal is unlikely to go through. "He wants to stay with us and I'm delighted," Hodgson said yesterday. "He didn't score many goals last season, but he will this time because he is a very good technician."
Crouch's move may lift Sunderland's hopes of signing Spurs striker Darren Bent, a player they have tried to sign on at least twice and whose future at White Hart Lane now looks to be in doubt.