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Thursday, January 12, 2006
Spurs poised to make move for Bridge

Tottenham will test Chelsea's resolve to hang on to their fringe players by making a 6million move for England left-back Wayne Bridge.

Coach Martin Jol offloaded defender Noe Pamarot along with midfielders Sean Davis and Pedro Mendes to Portsmouth in a 7.5million deal and then refused to rule out making a move for the unsettled Bridge.

Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho has repeatedly insisted nobody will be leaving his Stamford Bridge squad unless they are unhappy and want to quit.

But that situation may change once Spurs make an official approach for Bridge who is desperate for first-team football ahead of this summer's World Cup finals in Germany.

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has told the former Southampton defender he needs to be playing regularly to stand any hope of being included in his squad for the tournament.

Bridge has yet to figure in the Barclays Premiership for Chelsea since recovering from the serious ankle fracture he sustained against Newcastle in the FA Cup quarter-final last season.

Spurs lack cover on the left side and Bridge would help Jol to push Lee Young-Pyo into a more attacking role.

When quizzed about the possibility of a move for the Chelsea defender, Jol refused to deny their interest in him.

'We are still working on the left-back but I don't talk about new players,' he said. 'I still feel that if you want to be a top side, you need two players in every position. With the three players going now we have to do something.

'If Lee is out on the left side, we don't have a left-winger. Andy Reid is fit again but he is not a real wing player.'

Spurs have also been linked with Udinese striker Vincenzo Iaquinta as a replacement for Grzegorz Rasiak but Jol believes the 7million price tag is too expensive for Spurs at the present time.

Rasiak has not settled at at the club and he was taunted by Spurs fans during their 3-2 FA Cup defeat at the hands of Championship side Leicester on Sunday.

The club's sporting director Damien Comolli is believed to have flown to Italy to assess the possibility of a deal for Iaquinta who is expected to be part of their World Cup squad this summer.

The sale of three of their fringe first-team players to Portsmouth represents a nice slice of business for Spurs but it left a sour taste as Jol's man-management style was criticised by former Fulham midfielder Davis.

Davis claimed Jol's style meant players were frozen out and ignored if they were not part of his regular first-team squad.

But Jol accepted such criticism comes with the territory of trying to keep such a large squad happy and refused to hit back at Davis.

'It's a very difficult one because if you never play or you are injured and come back and play occasionally, it is very difficult to keep players happy sometimes,' conceded Jol.

'I did not speak to him for the last three or four weeks because he was injured. You get this kind of thing but there is no problem.

'If you ask other players they will say that he is an unbelievable man-manager but if you have 26 or 27 players, you get the same thing in football all the time.

'If you speak to players all the time they expect to play and sometimes it is impossible. Even with Jermain Defoe, sometimes I have to leave him because if you talk to them all the time, what sort of reaction do you get? It's a reality of football. They haven't played, so they won't be happy with the manager.

'When they come to me and want to leave I said I would think about it. Stephen Kelly also asked to leave because he wants to play but you can't let everyone go.'

But Jol will not re-think his policy of having such a large squad despite acknowledging the difficulties of keeping fringe players involved and happy.

'No, I will not do that,' declared Jol. 'I have a structure with every player mentally but sometimes you cannot talk a lot because, and I'm not saying it is true in this case, you might want to get rid of them.

'If you talk a lot to them, they might make their minds up and stay,' he joked. 'Sean Davis was not happy at all for the last six months. Pedro Mendes was already out of the team for 12 months and even when you try to make them happy it is impossible because they are not playing and that is the main thing they want to do.'

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