Spurs agree £10.7m for Berbatov to head off rival bids

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Fans will hope that, if he signs, the 25-year-old will prove to be more of a success than Sergei Rebrov, who cost £11m in 2000. However, Spurs are apparently facing late challenges from other Premiership club for Berbatov's signature, with sources suggesting that both Manchester United and Arsenal have contacted Bayer Leverkusen.

Spurs, whose interest in Berbatov was first revealed by The Independent, had hoped to haggle over the price with their sporting director, Damien Comolli, having travelled to Germany this week to seal the deal.

However, they have quickly agreed to pay the release fee on the player's contract after being alerted to the competition from their rivals and hope a deal can be announced within the next few days.

Leverkusen's sporting director, Rudi Völler, confirmed: "Tottenham have been in contact and are now prepared to pay the transfer fee... It is now Dimitar's decision but it hurts to lose such a class player." Berbatov, who will also become the most expensive player in Bulgarian history and has 47 caps, is second in the Bundesliga scoring list with 20 goals this season. His arrival is likely to lead to the exit of the on-loan Mido.

Spurs have stepped up their interest in Wigan's right-back Pascal Chimbonda. They have informally bid £2m for the Frenchman, but have been told they need to pay £4m, even though Wigan have declared he can leave only for £6m.

Spurs have reacted angrily to the release of initial tests by the Health Protection Agency which cast doubt on suggestions that they were the victims of food poisoning before their final Premiership match of the season at West Ham last Sunday. They lost, and finished outside the Champions' League places. Spurs' request for a replay was then rejected by the Premier League.

Tests on food eaten by the players and staff have been carried out and Dr Alex Mellanby, consultant in Communicable Disease Control at the agency, said norovirus, a form of viral gastroenteritis, was found in one person. He said that this suggested that the virus was to blame and that it had spread to the other players. He added that the person affected appeared to have been exposed to the virus before the stay at the Marriott Hotel in Canary Wharf.

However, Dr Mellanby added: "No definite conclusion as to the cause of the outbreak can be drawn from this one result."

Spurs reacted by pointing out that the report also revealed that the virus was not present in another of the players who was ill and suffering from the same symptoms. Tottenham's head of medical services, Dr Charlotte Cowie, alluding to these contradictions in the report, said: "It serves to sustain our level of uncertainty."

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