Tottenham manager admits need to bolster defence

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The Independent Online

Martin Jol admitted yesterday that he needed to buy a left-back after being linked with a move for Chelsea's Wayne Bridge.

However, the Tottenham Hotspur head coach is believed to be wasting his time if he bids for the England international. Although Bridge would welcome a move away from the Premiership champions, and the chance of regular football, he has been told he cannot leave until the summer.

"We are still working on the left-back but I don't talk about new players," Jol said yesterday. "I still feel that if you want to be a top side you need two players in every position."

Lee Young-Pyo, the only recognised left-back at the club, has returned to training after damaging his knee, while Jol confirmed that he had told the defender Stephen Kelly, who wants to leave, that he could not do so right now.

Jol is also thought to be keen to recruit cover in central defence, having missed out on the fellow Dutchman Ron Vlaar, and a striker. An enquiry has been made about the Udinese striker Vincenzo Iaquinta, who has been priced at £7m, but the trail has gone cold since last week. Indeed, it is now likely that Spurs may bide their time until towards the end of the transfer window.

If a striker is bought, it means that they will also listen to offers for Grzegorz Rasiak, who has failed to make an impression since his £2m transfer from Derby County. The Polish international is likely to attract interest, especially from Championship clubs, and it is common knowledge that Southampton, in particular, are hoping to sign a striker. They have had a bid for West Bromwich Albion's Robert Earnshaw - with Nigel Quashie and possibly David Prutton moving in the other direction - rejected.

That raises the intriguing prospect of Tottenham trying to negotiate a deal which involves Southampton's 16-year-old striker Theo Walcott, whom they have been tracking for some time.

The Southampton chairman Rupert Lowe has conceded: "We want him to stay but I cannot give any copper-bottomed answers and say he will be here."

If Walcott, who is due to sign a professional contract in March, decides to leave, then Arsenal is regarded as his preferred destination.

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