Tottenham Hotspur have gained an edge over North London rivals Arsenal in the race to sign Blackburn centre-back Chris Samba, according to The Mirror.
Blackburn have valued powerhouse captain Samba at £12million, and hope that slapping such a big price tag on the defender will force clubs to look elsewhere after already losing young sensation Phil Jones to Manchester United this summer.
However Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has been eyeing a deal which could involve a player or two going in the other direction in a player-plus-cash exchange, which could also allow him to get rid of some unwanted fringe players.
Blackburn will find it difficult to turn down this type of offer, although Samba’s wage demands could prove to be the problem, as he is reportedly looking for £60,000 a week.
Both North London clubs have been keen to add a big centre-half to their respective squads this summer; Jonathon Woodgate’s departure from Tottenham left the club with a gap in the position, and Arsenal’s defensive frailties were constantly exposed last season with the lack of a big man being pinpointed as a reason.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had an £8m bid for Samba rejected earlier this summer, and considers £12m to be too high a price for the giant defender. Wenger’s unwillingness to spend over the past six seasons has angered Arsenal fans, causing many to question his ambition after six consecutive trophy-less seasons.
Arsenal look set to lose another defensive asset in goalkeeper Manuel Almunia, as him and forward Nicklas Bendtner did not travel with the squad to Asia for their pre-season tour.