Spurs opt for youth in pursuit of Gunter

In a clear sign that they intend to continue with their controversial policy of only buying up promising young talent, Tottenham Hotspur hope to sign Cardiff City's 18-year-old defender Chris Gunter in the January transfer window.

Gunter, who is already a full Welsh international, is an exciting prospect and the Championship club have already rejected two bids from Everton, made last summer. Spurs are likely to face competition from Fulham for Gunter's signature although Cardiff will try to drive a hard bargain.

Fulham are also one of three Premier League clubs monitoring another Welsh prospect, the Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey.

Cardiff will not prevent Gunter, who plays mainly as a right-back, from leaving. Spurs will propose structuring a deal similar to the one that took another promising Welsh defender, Gareth Bale, also 18, from Southampton with cash up front and the rest dependent upon his progress and appearances. No price has yet been discussed although Gunter will cost at least 3m, with Cardiff hoping to realise far more.

The January transfer window is set to be a critical time for Spurs, their new head coach, Juande Ramos, and their sporting director, Damien Comolli, in particular. A number of Comolli's signings have failed to impress with Younes Kaboul, the French under-21 international defender who cost 8.2m from Auxerre, hauled off at half-time during the weekend defeat at home to Birmingham City.

Before that match Ramos had stated that only "desperate clubs" buy in the January window but, with Spurs only a point above the relegation places, it seems they now fall into that category. With Ledley King only just returning from long-term injury the need is for a dominant central defender to play alongside Michael Dawson.

Spurs scouts have been attending Espanyol's recent matches, which has led to the belief that they are tracking the 24-year-old central defender Daniel Jarque. It is also possible, however, that Spurs are considering a move for another Espanyol player, the former Manchester City left-winger Albert Riera who has been in impressive form since his return to Spain. Spurs will also be aware that the experienced Portuguese defender Fernando Meira is keen to leave Hamburg and would like to move to the Premier League.

The absence of an experienced defender, and the obsession with only buying young players, was a source of bitter regret for Ramos' predecessor Martin Jol especially as his attempts to sign Sylvain Distin, who subsequently moved to Portsmouth, were vetoed on the grounds that the Frenchman is 29 years old.

In a foreword to a new book about his time at Spurs, Jol questioned the policy that has been enthusiastically followed by Comolli. "Youngsters cannot do it on their own, they need help," Jol wrote.

King, who had knee surgery during the summer, played his first game for six months on Tuesday, completing the first half in a reserve team game against Fulham as did Ricardo Rocha who has also been out injured.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen