Hutton flies back to Spurs for talks

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The Independent Online

Tottenham Hotspur are set to take their January spending to more than £21m – greater than any other Premier League club – after Alan Hutton again flew down to London for talks to complete a £8m move from Rangers.

Already at Spurs yesterday was the Brazilian left-back Gilberto who was having a medical after agreeing terms on a £1.8m move from Hertha Berlin, while Jonathan Woodgate was getting to know his new team-mates after his £7.5m transfer from Middlesbrough. At training he will have met the teenager Chris Gunter who joined at the beginning of the month from Cardiff City for around £3m.

Given that Spurs have failed with an £8m bid for Stewart Downing and saw a £9m move for Juventus's Tiago Mendes fall through because they could not agree personal terms, the spending could have been even higher. They will now try and balance the books and hope to sell Pascal Chimbonda – probably to a Spanish club – for £6m before the transfer window closes. Aston Villa also remain interested although their manager, Martin O'Neill, is considering a move for Leicester City's Richard Stearman. A raft of other players at Spurs are available, but it's unlikely that they will be sold in time.

The deal to sign the relatively untried Hutton is surprising in more ways than one. The 23-year-old right-back returned to Scotland after talks with Spurs at the weekend – having already spoken to the club when a fee was agreed three weeks ago – after deciding to stay with Rangers until the end of the season. His partner, Kylie, is due to give birth to their second child next month and this is thought to have influenced his thinking.

However Hutton had a change of heart at around midnight and contacted his new agent, Robert Segal, who booked a flight for him back to London yesterday morning so that a deal could be completed. Spurs were made aware that the deal was back on, especially as Rangers are keen to cash in on the Scottish international. Indeed it is believed that the fee for him could eventually rise as high as £10m which would be a record for a Scottish player, beating the £9m Sunderland paid last summer for Craig Gordon.

Yesterday, the Rangers manager, Walter Smith, confirmed that a deal to sell Hutton was close.

"He's currently in London and I think the clubs and Alan Hutton have all reached agreement," Smith said. "It would look as though after the remaining formalities that he will join Spurs."

Smith will immediately try and reinvest some of the cash in buying the striker Luke Moore for £3.5m from Villa. The Midlands club also have three bids of £5m on the table – from Bolton Wanderers, Sunderland and Birmingham City – for Gary Cahill. The central defender is expected to join Birmingham.

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