Spurs begin clear-out after Hutton arrival

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The Independent Football

Having completed the £8m signing of right-back Alan Hutton from Rangers, Tottenham Hotspur yesterday began to try and balance the books a little by persuading Aston Villa to pay £2.8m for Wayne Routledge. However, they vehemently denied suggestions that they had also agreed a fee of £3.5m to sell Kevin-Prince Boateng to Villa. The German midfielder only arrived last summer from Hertha Berlin for £4.7m.

The Villa manager, Martin O'Neill, has nevertheless targeted Spurs as he attempts to bolster what is one of the smallest squads in the Premier League. A £10m move for striker Jermain Defoe has not yet materialised, although a deadline-day bid for the defender Pascal Chimbonda, who is desperate to leave Spurs and is available for £6m, is possible, even though it is thought he may be on his way to Spain.

O'Neill has, however, completed the £2m purchase of the American goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, from Chivas. The 23-year-old, who was also a target of Celtic, impressed during a two-day trial and Villa hope to secure a work permit later today. His arrival makes it possible that Thomas Sorensen could leave before midnight today, as Villa will have four goalkeepers, while Stuart Taylor is expected to depart in the summer.

The sale of Hutton, who has signed a four-year deal at White Hart Lane, means that Rangers, who yesterday signed West Ham's Christian Dailly until the end of the season and are still waiting to hear if they can sell Daniel Cousin to Fulham, now have the cash to fund a move for Villa's Luke Moore. However they are baulking at the £3.5m asking price and may wait until the end of the season when the striker will be in the final year of his contract.

Spurs will be relieved to finally sell Routledge, who yesterday underwent a medical at Villa Park. Indeed he was close to moving to Villa last summer, only for a loan deal to fall through, while Queen's Park Rangers' attempts to sign him collapsed after they refused to offer more than £1.8m for the 23-year-old.

The winger arrived at Tottenham in July 2005 for an initial £1.25m, rising to £2m, but has spent much of his time on loan at Portsmouth and Fulham as he struggled to break into the Spurs first team. This season he has played just twice, back in August.

Meanwhile, the most tortuous deal of the transfer window should, finally, be settled today with Middlesbrough's appeal for a work permit for Afonso Alves being heard in London. A £12m fee to sign the Brazilian striker from the Dutch club Heerenveen has been agreed but he does not automatically qualify for eligibility to play in this country as he does not have sufficient international appearances.

Should his appeal be successful, and Middlesbrough remain confident, Alves, a prolific goalscorer, will play against Newcastle United on Sunday – as long as he receives international clearance, a formality, in time. His signing would shatter Boro's transfer record – the £8.15m spent on Massimo Maccarone in 2002 – and Alves is expected to be joined at the club by the 18-year-old Internazionale striker Goran Slavkovski. The Swede, who has Macedonian roots and has been likened to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, will sign on loan for the rest of the season.

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