x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Tottenham likely to land Bellamy

Spurs could lose out unless their chairman releases funds ahead of the outcome of Tottenham's Champions League two-legged play-off against Young Boys.

Peter Crouch, right, celebrates his goal for Tottenham at Manchester City in May which secured the London side of the fourth Champions League spot at the expense of their opponents.
Peter Crouch, right, celebrates his goal for Tottenham at Manchester City in May which secured the London side of the fourth Champions League spot at the expense of their opponents.

LONDON // Tottenham Hotspur are in poll position in three-way battle to sign Craig Bellamy with Fulham and Celtic, the Scottish giants, also in the bidding after Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, revealed that the striker was not in his 25-man Premier League squad. However, Robinho, who cost City a then British record transfer fee of £32.5 million (Dh188.5m) when they signed him from Real Madrid in 2008, appears to have a future at the club after all the Italian said that he would be one of the 25.

But Spurs could lose out unless Daniel Levy, their chairman, releases funds ahead of the outcome of Tottenham's Champions League two-legged play-off against Young Boys of Switzerland over the next fortnight. Levy is ready to sanction to signing of up to three new players, but only if Spurs qualify for the Champions League proper. Aston Villa's Ashley Young remains another major target. If Spurs make the Champions League proper they are ready to offer Villa £18.5m for Young, or do a cash-plus-player deal.

Villa have been offered David Bentley, Jermain Jenas and Robbie Keane, but are in a state of limbo following the departure of manager Martin O'Neill. Bellamy is now up for grabs after Mancini's decision. That means City will either sell the player, or farm him out loan. Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, admitted his interest in Bellamy last night. "Craig is an outstanding player and if he is available he would certainly be of interest to us," said Redknapp.

It is understood Redknapp is trying to convince Levy to finalise the Bellamy deal next week but bide his time over Young. However, Mark Hughes, Fulham's Welsh manager, who lured Bellamy to City when he was in charge of the Manchester club, stressed he wants to sign his fellow countryman again. Hughes said: "Yes, I'd be interested in signing Craig. He's one of the top players in the Premier League."

Hughes has signed Bellamy twice before, at Blackburn Rovers and then City, and was also his manager when in charge of Wales. Hughes added: "If he comes on the market, and if we're in the position where we can conclude a deal for Craig Bellamy, then yes we would be very interested. It seems that Manchester City won't be using Craig at Premier League level, so from his point of view it is very important that he makes the right decision for his career."

If Spurs do qualify for the Champions League that may entice Bellamy, although he may yet be lured by an easier life at Celtic where he previously had a loan spell when a Newcastle player. Meanwhile, Mancini confirmed Robinho will be in his squad yesterday, saying: "He came back yesterday, he is very tired but he is on the list." Robino has had an unhappy time at Eastlands and returned to his former club Santos on loan in January. He has previously stated his desire to remain in Brazil, but is seems Mancini has plans for the gifted forward.

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