Transfer news and speculation, 19 January

Tottenham show interest in reserve goalkeeper Harper
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The Independent Football

Newcastle United There is uncertainty at St James' Park about the club's second-choice goalkeeper Steve Harper as well as the No 1 Shay Given. Manchester City's interest in Given has been established by two bids from them in the last 10 days, and another is expected this week. But there is also strong interest in Harper from Tottenham, who are understood to have made a formal approach and are believed to have bid £2m.

Last month Newcastle's manager, Joe Kinnear, said that Harper was one of four players expected to sign a contract extension, but of that quartet only Shola Ameobi has done so. Harper, Michael Owen and Nicky Butt are the other three and each is assessing his options.

Were Given to leave for City, Harper would be expected to be No 1 choice. That the two most senior members of the playing staff, Given and Harper, are prepared to leave is an indication of the massive disenchantment within the Newcastle dressing room.

Arsenal to seal Arshavin transfer

Arsenal are set to smash their nine-year-old transfer record when they finally clinch the signing of the Zenit St Petersburg playmaker Andrei Arshavin this week. Arsenal officials are expected in Russia tomorrow to finalise the £17m transfer that will dwarf the £13m the Gunners paid Bordeaux for Sylvain Wiltord in 2000. They had an initial bid of £10m for Arshavin rejected earlier this month but have maintained their interest in view of the long-term injuries to Cesc Fabregas and Tomas Rosicky.

Tigers hungry for more fresh blood

Hull City manager Phil Brown will look to strengthen his squad further before their next league game at West Ham on 27 January. New signings Kevin Kilbane and Manucho made their debuts against Arsenal on Saturday but this month's recruitment drive is unlikely to end there. A move for former Liverpool defender Steve Finnan appears to have broken down but the club are actively pursuing other targets. The club have been linked with Wigan's Michael Brown to fill the gap in midfield created by George Boateng's injury.

Megson hopes it is now a buyer's market

Bolton Wanders manager Gary Megson will step up his search for fresh faces this week. "What tends to happen in January is that during the first couple of weeks it is a seller's market," he said, "then it turns into a buyer's market when clubs realise they are not going to get the price they are looking for. Expect is not the right word, hope would be more accurate but I am trying to bring in a few players."

Hammers and Pompey a danger, says Moyes

Everton manager David Moyes says the transfer policies of West Ham and Portsmouth are "a danger to football". He said: "They bought players and gave them big wages which made it difficult for clubs like us because we would try to get similar players but they blew us out with higher wages, far more than Everton could afford. Now they are selling players because they paid them higher wages than they should have."

Rumour windmill: From the web

The Blackburn Rovers manager Sam Allardyce is ready to make an offer for the former Liverpool striker Florent Sinama-Pongolle, who had a loan spell at Ewood Park, from Atletico Madrid. (

Portsmouth are in negotiations to bring the Real Madrid striker Javier Saviola (above) to Fratton Park. The Argentine striker has been offered to Portsmouth on loan until the end of the season. "I have had a discussion with Real about him," explained Portsmouth's Executive Chairman Peter Storrie. (

Middlesbrough have made a £1m offer for the Crystal Palace midfielder Ben Watson. (

Arsenal are prepared to offer £5m for the highly-rated 18-year-old winger Sotiris Ninis from Panathinaikos. (