Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Sweeper: Tottenham finally set to land Vertonghen as Ajax prepare to accept £9.6m offer

Spurs are expecting to wrap up a deal for the Belgian defender next week, while David Dein is unlikely to be joining Liverpool's staff this summer




Tottenham are hopeful of tying up a £9.6 million move for Jan Vertonghen next week as they edge closer to an agreement with Ajax.

The Sweeper has learned that the Dutch giants have now indicated they are ready to accept Spurs’ offer for their captain, with the two clubs now mainly discussing the structure of the proposed payments.

Vertonghen will be in London next week for Belgium’s game against England on June 2, and Spurs hope to be able to conduct a medical for the defender before Saturday’s match.

- Greg Stobart| Northern Correspondent


David Dein has no intention of accepting a permanent senior executive role at Liverpool or any other club except Arsenal, according to a close friend.

Rumours have been rife that the former Gunners and FA vice-chairman has been advising Fenway Sports Group (FSG), Liverpool’s owners, and that he is a strong contender to be part of the management shake-up at Anfield.

As a globetrotting networker, Dein has some connections to FSG, but football consultant, author and Arsenal expert Alex Fynn explained to The Sweeper that his friend’s involvement with the Boston-based group may have been exaggerated.

“Arsenal is in David’s heart,” Fynn said. “I don't think he would ever work with anybody but Arsenal, unless he changes direction by 360 degrees.

“He loves football and watches it as a fan, and has earned that privileged status. Fifa and Uefa regard him highly and he is a friend and regular confidante of theirs.

“He doesn’t do anything official apart from lecturing on the sports conferencing circuit. He is on close terms with the movers and shakers at home and abroad. His advice is often sought at the highest level but in terms of taking on a senior role, I think it would only be at Arsenal.”

Since being ousted from the Arsenal board in 2007 following a 24-year spell as the club’s vice-chairman, Dein, 68, has rejected overtures from Barcelona, Newcastle United and Everton.

He turned down those offers despite a friendship with Everton chairman Bill Kenwright stretching back 30 years and Newcastle owner Mike Ashley being a neighbour in the exclusive Totteridge area of north London.

Speculation persists that Dein is advising FSG on football appointments, as the club close in on two senior football figures to replace Kenny Dalglish and Damien Comolli, who have both been sacked in the last six weeks.

Fynn observed: “David’s wife is American and he has strong connections with America. He first developed his knowledge about sports marketing from going to America and watching the NFL."

Dein continues to circumnavigate the world of football. Last weekend, the Arsenal season ticket-holder was in Munich for the Champions League final on Saturday before travelling to Vienna the following day to attend the Austrian Cup final. He was also the only English administrator who stayed for the duration of the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year.

- Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent


Roman Abramovich may be ready to spend big following Chelsea’s Champions League triumph - but the Blues are also looking for bargains as they attempt to rejuvenate their ageing squad this summer.

Blackburn full-back Martin Olsson has been made aware of interest from Stamford Bridge and the 24-year-old could be available for as little as £2.5m following Rovers’ relegation to the Championship.

Chelsea are yet to make a concrete approach for the Swede and he has told his agent that he wants to focus on Euro 2012 before making a decision on his future.

- Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent


Joe Cole has returned to London following the end of a season of reinvention on loan at Lille.

But the England international is not believed to be as enthusiastic about staying on in his home city to compete in the Olympics as his public comments have suggested.

Although Cole has said it would be “amazing” to play for Team GB in the Games, he is understood to regard the Olympics as a distant second best to being involved at Euro 2012.

The 30-year-old, who is likely to be loaned out by Liverpool again next season unless a buyer can be found who will match his £110,000-a-week wages, knew his chances of being a shock selection for England this summer all but ended when his former West Ham boss Harry Redknapp was overlooked for the manager’s job in favour of Roy Hodgson.

Cole made the 80-man cut for the Olympic squad and will find out in the first week of June if he has been selected as one of three ‘over-age’ players in Stuart Pearce’s 18-man squad.

- Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

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