Deadline spurs Tottenham to target Lyon teenager

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The Independent Football

Tottenham Hotspur appear to have rekindled their interest in the Lyon teenager Hatem Ben Arfa as their search for a left-winger increases in its intensity ahead of next week's transfer window deadline.

Spurs, already linked once again with a renewed move for Middlesbrough's England winger, Stewart Downing, are now targeting the 19-year-old Ben Arfa, whose future with the French champions is not entirely secure after he asked to leave the Stade Gerland in the summer.

He was under-used by Gérard Houllier last season and now, according to the Lyon chairman Jean-Michel Aulas, the Premiership side have taken another look at the talented youngster. Aulas said: "I saw the leaders of Tottenham are pressing hard to sign Hatem. It is necessary that we discuss it."

Spurs are in the market for a left-winger after the sale of Andy Reid to Charlton. Although they have Reto Ziegler within their squad, the coach Martin Jol wants someone to operate on the left flank in a similar fashion to England's Aaron Lennon on the right.

Reading have completed the signing of the Ecuador international defender Ulises De La Cruz. The right-back, 32, played in every minute of Ecuador's World Cup campaign this summer, helping his team into the last 16 before being knocked out by England. He has signed a one-year deal after leaving Aston Villa at the end of last season. He has spent the past week training with the club but will not be considered for selection at Wigan today as he is short of match fitness.

The Reading manager Steve Coppell said: "I was quite surprised when Ulises was still available, and he is a player who has played at this level and can compete at this level. We have a long gap between now and the Man City game, so that's an opportunity for him to get his bearings."

The director of football Nick Hammond added: "Ulises is a very good player who adds depth to our defensive options. He has proven his ability on the international stage and impressed during training."

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