Tottenham Hotspur hope to tie up a £8m deal for Seville's left-winger Diego Capel who is top of their list of transfer targets while they wait to see how the Dimitar Berbatov saga plays out. Capel is that rare commodity in the transfer market, a left-footed, left-sided player whom Tottenham see as ideal to their rebuilding this summer.
Capel, 20, played under Tottenham manager Juande Ramos and established himself over the course of the Spanish manager's last season at the club. Tottenham's left side was a problem last term with Steed Malbranque getting the job more often than not but Capel, who has been the subject of interest from Arsenal this season, looks like a better fit for the position. In keeping with their policy of signing young talent that Spurs hope will increase in price, the club want to keep the fee low.
The competition in midfield next season will be steep with Luka Modric and, Spurs hope, Capel too. The club will have to wait for later in the summer for the anticipated bidding to begin for Berbatov who they hope to auction off for the greatest profit. Manchester United's interest is well established although Spurs had hoped that more bids from around Europe might put up the price of their most valuable asset.
Capel would be the first of Ramos' Seville prodigies to join their manager in London and a sure sign that it is Ramos who is dictating transfer policy rather than the director of football, Damien Comolli. Spurs' outlay last summer on Darren Bent, Younes Kaboul and Kevin Prince Boateng in particular – for a total of around £29m – has not been a success with no sign that the club will be able to sell those players for anything like what they bought them.
Accordingly, the chairman, Daniel Levy, is keeping a close eye on the acquisition of players this season and even travelled to Croatia in April to tie up the £16.5m deal for Modric personally. As one of the lowest payers in the Premier League (although they finished 11th last season), Spurs will be counting on the appeal of playing for Ramos to persuade Capel. They would not be in a position to outbid Real Madrid for his wages although they do renegotiate young players' contracts regularly if they prove a success.
Tottenham will also hope that the completion of Arsenal's deal for Samir Nasri, the Marseilles midfielder, will end their rivals' interest in Capel. Nasri announced yesterday that he would be joining Arsenal in a four-year deal for a fee worth around £15m. It had been planned that Nasri would leave the France camp at some point during Euro 2008 to undergo his medical but the deal has been held up. He was player of the year for Marseilles in 2007, although he was in and out of the team last season. At Euro 2008 he was used only as a substitute, playing just 16 minutes against Italy having been brought on by Raymond Domenech and then off after Eric Abidal's red card.
As a winger who can play on either side, Nasri has been billed as the potential replacement for Alexander Hleb. Wenger is set to talk about his new Arsenal players, including the £5m Cardiff 17-year-old Aaron Ramsey at an appearance for sponsors in Basle in Switzerland today.
The future of Hleb and Emmanuel Adebayor are concerns for Wenger. Barcelona are confident that they can sign Adebayor, 24, to reprise his partnership with Thierry Henry. Although Henry has indicated that he would like to leave the club he is not among those – Ronaldinho, Deco and Samuel Eto'o included – whom Barcelona are willing to sell.