Spurs go for Kuyt after sale of £4.4m Kanoute

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The Independent Online

The Spurs head coach, Martin Jol, has identified Kuyt as the ideal partner for Jermain Defoe and the club have been encouraged by news that the price for the 25-year-old, who was involved in last night's friendly between the Netherlands and Germany, may have dropped from an initial €15m (£10.7m).

Nevertheless, it may well be that Spurs have to break their current transfer record, the £11m paid in the ill-fated signing of Sergei Rebrov five years ago, to secure the player, especially as Feyenoord remain concerned at the reaction of their supporters at the potential loss of their captain and top scorer.

Kuyt, who has struck 50 goals in 70 games for Feyenoord, scored in last Sunday's opening league game against NAC Breda. Feyenoord discouraged Liverpool's attempts to sign Kuyt - regarded as a powerful striker in the mould of Alan Shearer - earlier this summer, but have become increasingly resigned to his departure.

Spurs have the cash to pay for Kuyt and he will usurp Mido in the starting XI. Jol has always made it clear that he prefers a little-and-large partnership for his strikers and has maintained that he would not move for another forward unless he created room in his squad first. He has now done that and regards Kuyt as the perfect foil to Defoe and someone who can help furnish Spurs' European ambitions.

Any move for Kuyt would not preclude another offer being made for Newcastle's Jermaine Jenas, who would cost £10m and is keen to play for a London club.

The departure of Kanouté was not unexpected, although it is understood that he was hoping to stay in the Premiership.

That possibility was still alive last night. Graeme Souness, the Newcastle manager, is known to be an admirer of Kanouté and needs to bolster a forward line depleted by the sale of Craig Bellamy and the suspension of Shola Ameobi.

Kanouté could possibly be used as a makeweight in any deal to sign Jenas. That sort of deal, though, appears unlikely as the £4.4m transfer fee will be held for the Kuyt deal as Robbie Keane, who missed the Republic of Ireland's match against Italy in Dublin last night, is still doubtful with ankle trouble - as is Moroccan signing Mounir El Hamdaoui, yet to make his senior debut.

That leaves only Defoe and Mido as the recognised first-team strikers for Tottenham's home match against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Kanouté has agreed a four-year deal with Seville but has still to pass a medical with the Spanish club. He scored 21 goals in 73 appearances since his arrival for £3.5m from West Ham United following their relegation from the top-flight in 2003.

The West Ham manager, Alan Pardew, had considered making a bid to take him back, but was discouraged by the angry reaction of the club's fans, who felt that his performances lacked commitment and he was too injury-prone.

Kanouté fell out of favour at Spurs at the end of last season after refusing to go on a club tour to Mauritius for "personal reasons" and also drew criticism from Jol following a League Cup tie against Liverpool in which he conceded a penalty.

He also left the north London club in the lurch the season before last when deciding to play for his adopted country in the African Nations' Cup at the expense of Premiership games.

Despite Keane's absence with an ankle injury, Kanouté, who played second fiddle to the Irishman and Defoe last season, was given only a few minutes' play as substitute for Egyptian loanee Mido in Saturday's 2-0 win over Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

He said afterwards: "I know Spurs are trying to move me on and when you know that you might as well listen to offers. But I am happy to stay and be part of the squad here. My family are settled in London."

If he moves to Seville, Kanouté will replace the failed Arsenal target Julio Baptista after the Brazilian's £13m move to Real Madrid.

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