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Fulham and Spurs race for Southgate

last updated Tuesday 29th May 2001, 3:07 PM
Tottenham have joined Fulham in the race to sign Aston Villa's England defender Gareth Southgate.

Spurs representatives made contact with Villa about the 30-year-old player at the weekend after learning that Sol Campbell had rejected their offer of a new contract.

Fulham had already signalled their interest in Southgate, who was with the England squad who flew out today to La Manga in Spain for a week's preparation for their World Cup match against Greece in Athens on 6 June.

Southgate first asked to leave Villa a year ago and, although manager John Gregory wanted to keep his club captain, they indicated they were prepared to listen to offers for him. The former Crystal Palace star emphasised his continued disenchantment at Villa Park two weeks ago by resigning from the captaincy and Villa now look resigned to letting him go.

A year ago, the price was a problem for potential buyers because Villa said they would not contemplate selling Southgate for less than £7 million. That scared off Chelsea but now Villa may be willing to take about £1.5m less.

Tottenham manager Glenn Hoddle is a Southgate fan. When Hoddle was England coach, he favoured the use of three central defenders and regularly selected Southgate.

Fulham believe Southgate's experience would be a boon in their first season in the Premiership.

Watford-born Southgate is known to favour a return to London but Spurs and Fulham can also expect Middlesbrough to show an interest, as would Liverpool if they miss out in the race for Campbell.
Source This is London
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