Tottenham Hotspur last night finalised the signing of the Roma striker Mido - with the head coach, Martin Jol, hailing the 21-year-old as "potentially one of the best young strikers in Europe". Jol also confirmed that the Egyptian's arrival ends interest in securing Carlton Cole, who is on loan at Aston Villa, from Chelsea.
Jol is also waiting to see whether a £1.5m bid for Crystal Palace's Wayne Routledge succeeds. "We put an offer in for him," Jol said. "He's a very young, talented player, so why not? That's all we did." Palace have rejected the offer for the 20-year-old, who is out of contract this summer, arguing they would receive more from a tribunal.
Spurs have also bid £4m - £2m up front and £2m dependent on appearances - for Nottingham Forest's Andy Reid. However, as with Routledge, they are playing a waiting game. That may mean missing out on both players with Everton, in particular, keen on Reid and both Everton and Birmingham City considering Routledge. The emergence of the midfielder Dean Marney may also affect Jol's thinking. The 20-year-old is likely to feature tomorrow when Spurs play Palace.
Yesterday Jol explained why he needed Mido - full name is Ahmed Hossam - particularly as Frédéric Kanouté is injured. "We only have two strikers and we had three, and possibly we need four because when we get a fourth and it's a young striker then maybe it's a healthier situation," he said. Mido, who has an impressive goals record, has signed on loan, with a view to a permanent transfer.
Spurs will be his sixth club in six years, although Jol denied claims that the player was a troublemaker. "Mido was at Ajax and was so good he went to Marseilles and was so good he went to Roma," Jol said. "It's not about being difficult it is about being good. It's different. Robbie Keane, is he difficult? But how many clubs has he had? If you are good, clubs are interested." Nevertheless, Mido has been frustrated by the lack of opportunities at Roma, whom he joined for £3.9m. "They have [Vincenzo] Montella who has scored 16 goals up to now," Jol said. "Then they have [Francesco] Totti. In Italy, they say he's the best No 10 in the world. So it's a different situation."
The Dutchman said he knew how to handle the player. "I know him. He very big, He's 6ft 3in and he's one of the best headers I've ever seen. His reputation is unfair because he's a terrific player. When I speak to other people, for example Zlatan Ibrahimovic [Mido's former Ajax team-mate], I know him, and he says 'he's my friend'. The thing is you have to be honest with him."
Last night Mido said that joining Spurs was a "great opportunity and a personal challenge".
"I have heard marvellous things about Jermain Defoe," he said. "Alongside him I think I can do a lot of damage to opposition defences and drive them crazy. I'm already dreaming of playing against Arsenal or Manchester United. I think I am more than able to do well at Tottenham."