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Saturday, August 25, 2007
'Sell Berbatov? I'd rather die' - Insists Jol

Tottenham boss Martin Jol has revealed he turned down an approach for striker Dimitar Berbatov.

The 26-year-old Bulgaria international has attracted interest following his impressive rookie season in the Premier League, but Jol insists he does not want to sell.

'I had one approach and I said 'I'd rather die than sell him',' said the Dutchman.

Jol insists there has been no falling out between the pair following a poor start to his second campaign at White Hart Lane.

'Berbatov loves me,' Jol said.

'If he is playing well, he gets all the praise and if he is not doing well I have to tell him.'

Jol's sentiments were in stark contrast to those of Berbatov's agent, Emil Dantchev, who yesterday claimed Manchester United had made a firm offer for the striker and said he will meet Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy at some stage next week to discuss the interest.

United last night rejected Dantchev's claims, even though it is believed at one stage this summer manager Sir Alex Ferguson made a tentative inquiry for the 26-year-old Bulgaria international.

'The club has categorically not made a bid for Dimitar Berbatov,' said chief executive David Gill.

The future of Jermain Defoe appears less certain after Jol urged the England striker to prove his commitment to Spurs by signing a new deal.

Chairman Daniel Levy is wary of Defoe seeing out his contract and departing for free as Sol Campbell did in 2001.

Jol said: 'He tells everyone he loves the club but he hasn't signed a contract. I don't know what can happen if there are other clubs because the chairman said to me that he doesn't want another Campbell on his hands.'

Defoe is in the squad for tomorrow's clash at Manchester United, with the fixture coming at the end of a chaotic week at Tottenham.

Jol yesterday appeared relaxed at Spurs Lodge despite the infamous meeting between club officials and Sevilla boss Juande Ramos, with the Dutchman making light of the events that sparked a turbulent seven days.

Levy held a meeting with Jol on Tuesday and issued a statement giving him his '100%' backing, although confidence in his own ability is not something the Spurs boss is lacking after consecutive fifth-placed finishes in the Premier League.

It may be the most difficult week of his managerial career but Jol claimed that the consequences of finishing outside the Champions League places are hypothetical.

'The only thing that is not hypothetical is the two fifth-placed finishes we had,' he said. 'That is what they wanted.

'If I said to the chairman `I'll give you two top-fives in two years' he would have laughed at me. We did that.

'Five quarter-finals in the cups is a great achievement but now I realise - that is why this is a very good club, the ambition is higher.

'I get told I have to win a cup (by the media). Tell other managers they have to win a cup!'

Jol, however, is determined to finish the job he started nearly three years ago.

'If we do well, everything will be forgotten,' he said.

'I could walk out and go to a Champions League club but I want to stay here because I believe in those boys and as long as they believe in me there is no issue.

'I can work anywhere in the world but this is my mission. This is what I love.'




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