Robinson deal merely delayed, says Pleat

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The Independent Online

Paul Robinson will join Tottenham Hotspur in the summer despite the collapse of his £2.5m move on the last day of the January transfer window. And the Spurs caretaker manager, David Pleat, said the club would listen to offers for the full-back Stephen Carr if they were to receive "£8m or something like that".

Pleat said that he "expects" the Robinson deal to be resurrected after the Leeds United goalkeeper had travelled to London and agreed personal terms only for the transfer to be blocked by the Premier League just one hour before the Monday deadline expired.

"We are left in a position whereby we're confident that everything that happened means we'll proceed," Pleat said yesterday. "He was given permission to speak to us, he's had a medical and we've spoken as far as we could go with him. But the Premier League decided that, at this moment in time, because of various complications with Leeds United, that they couldn't sanction it."

The governing body refused to permit the deal because the two clubs had effectively created a "sale and leaseback" arrangement, which is forbidden under Premier League rules. Spurs had proposed buying - and paying for - Robinson now but allowing him to continue playing for Leeds until the end of the season.

Guidelines for transfers between two Premiership clubs state that a player cannot register again for his former club for at least a year after he has signed for a new one, even if he is returning on loan. The only exception is when there is prior written consent from the Premier League board.

Pleat added: "The money can't change hands until you've got the registration of the player. It was very difficult. We didn't want to jeopardise Leeds. It was a hard one, it was a kind of sympathetic feeling for Leeds. They may have put themselves in the situation but the general camaraderie in football means we didn't want to see them shorn of players."

Another scenario could hasten the 24-year-old's move to White Hart Lane. That would be if Leeds, with debts of more than £100m, went into administration - which could happen on Friday. Administrators would then order a reduction in staff with players being allowed to leave for cut-price fees. Leeds would ultimately receive much less than the £2m - and £500,000 later - on offer.

Pleat also said that Spurs were prepared to bide their time over Carr - unless they received a substantial offer. Carr has less than 18 months left on his Tottenham contract and has been linked with a move to Newcastle United, although the Republic of Ireland international is hoping he can switch to Arsenal next year.

"He is playing fine for us and he's responding to the challenge of captaincy and he has 18 months to go," Pleat said. "I don't see that as a major issue at the moment. It would only be a major issue if someone came in and offered us £8m or something like that."

However, it is unlikely that Carr, who has shown no intention of signing a new contract, would attract such a bid.

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