Tottenham chase Tiago but deny Bent will go
Saturday 19 January 2008
Tottenham Hotspur are attempting to sign the Juventus midfielder Tiago Mendes but, at present, are not prepared to meet the €13m (£9.75m) asking price.
The 26-year-old's agent, Jorge Mendes, was in London on Thursday to attempt to conclude a deal for the Portuguese international who has been told he can leave Juve after enduring a miserable season.
A move back to England is a surprise for Tiago who played for Chelsea for one year under Jose Mourinho before leaving for Lyons where he was an immediate success. He has been afforded two rare starts in the last week but was hauled off at half-time by coach Claudio Ranieri. Juve's asking price is the same as they paid for Tiago last summer.
Spurs are bracing themselves, as ever, for a busy end to the transfer window with fresh moves being initiated to sign the Espanyol goalkeeper, Carlos Kameni. Head coach Juande Ramos had hoped to sign either Ajax's Maarten Stekelenburg or Valencia's Timo Hildebrand to replace Paul Robinson as first-choice but that is proving problematic. Kameni is a 24-year-old Cameroonian.
The future of Jermain Defoe remains in doubt with Spurs expecting bids next week. Aston Villa still lead the chase for the unsettled England striker even though no club is likely to come close to Spurs's asking price of £15m. A bidding war – which could also involve Newcastle United, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Portsmouth – could drive the fee up to more than £10m. Villa manager Martin O'Neill said yesterday it was "untrue" to claim that talks had been held with Defoe but, club sources insist, there has been contact.
Spurs took the unusual step yesterday of posting on their website a statement from sporting director Damien Comolli claiming Darren Bent was not for sale. "Reports that Darren Bent is for sale are totally inaccurate and, furthermore, we are not in the market for any strikers," he said.
Nevertheless Bent is unhappy and had hoped to secure a move while sources maintain that Spurs would sell if they could come close to recouping their money. But they have not had any interest. Talks are understood to have taken place to sign Lyons striker Fred for £9m but that deal collapsed over his personal demands. Spurs have also considered a move for Newcastle United's Obafemi Martins but he is staying put.
Fulham's £5m move for Watford striker Marlon King is in doubt after the 27-year-old is understood to have failed a medical yesterday. Fulham had hoped King would go straight into their side for today's meeting with Arsenal but there is concern over the knee injury which kept him out for virtually all of last season. Fulham did complete the £2.5m signing of defender Brede Hangeland from FK Viking, manager Roy Hodgson's former club.
Manchester City's Georgios Samaras is set to become the latest recruit for Birmingham City in a £2m transfer – which means City will have made a £4m loss in a year – while James McFadden has completed his £6m move to St Andrews.
Portsmouth have completed the loan signing of long-term target Lucien Aubey from Lens with left-back Djimi Traoré leaving Fratton Park for Rennes, where he will replace Erik Edman who has joined Wigan Athletic for £500,000. Wigan have announced the permanent signing of Ecuador winger Antonio Valencia.
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