Heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is close to agreeing a deal to fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium later this year, promoter Eddie Hearn said on Thursday.
Britain’s Joshua beat Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia last year to regain the WBA, IBF and WBO titles.
Now the 30-year-old is set to fight Bulgarian Kubrat Pulev, the IBF mandatory challenger, in June at the north London home of Premier League club Tottenham.
The plush 62,000-capacity stadium, which opened last April, is believed to have beaten competition from venues including Twickenham and Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium.
“We’re very close. I had a meeting with AJ last night. We’ve had offers in from the Far East, Middle East, Africa, America, Turkey,” Hearn told Sky Sports.
“He’s made it very clear to me ‘I want to come home. I want to box in London next. I’ve been to Madison Square Garden. I’ve been to Saudi Arabia. Bring me home! Forget the other offers! Bring me home!’
“He wants to fight in London in June. We’re on the verge of making that happen now. Spurs is the front runner and that’s what he’s asked me to do. We’ll be delivering that for him.”
Joshua was last in action in London back in September 2018 when he beat Alexander Povetkin at Wembley Stadium.
Mauricio Pochettino fears the decision to shut the Premier League transfer window before many of the other major leagues could “create a mess” at Tottenham Hotspur.
Pochettino signed Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon and Giovani Lo Celso from Real Betis on Thursday’s deadline day after breaking their transfer record on Lyon’s Tanguy Ndombele earlier in the window.
But clubs in Italy, Spain and Germany, who all start their domestic seasons later than the Premier League, still have several weeks to sign players from England.
With Tottenham stars Christian Eriksen, Toby Alderweireld, Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen all linked with moves this summer, Pochettino is worried that his players will be distracted and potentially end up leaving without replacements being available.
“All the personal situations, it is not right to talk. There is a lot of rumours. We cannot waste time talking about every rumour that appeared on the news,” Pochettino told reporters on Friday.
“That is another point to argue that we are at a disadvantage with European clubs because they have 20 days more, because I think it is a big mistake for the Premier League to allow that.
“In this situation we open the door for clubs in Europe to try and create confusion in the club. The Premier League cannot give this advantage to European clubs because we are going to compete with them … they can create a mess in a club like us.”
Despite Pochettino’s concerns, he was still in confident mood ahead of Tottenham’s Premier League opener against Aston Villa on Saturday.
Pochettino had called for them to “act like a big club” and chairman Daniel Levy has responded to that demand.
‘I’m a Happy Man’
“I am very happy, like I told you before I was happy with my squad and now to add some more players,” Pochettino said.
“You are always thinking that players can bring good energy and help us achieve all that we want.
“We will see what happens, but I am so happy with the way the squad is. I was happy before, I am happy plus. I am a happy man.”
Rose’s future remains uncertain after he did not go on Tottenham’s pre-season tour in order to arrange a move away from the club.
But it looks as if he has been reintegrated into the squad after Pochettino said he was a “very important part of my plan” despite the arrival of Sessegnon, who could fill the same role in the long-term but isn’t fit yet.
“Sess is so young, 19 years old. He can potentially be a very good player, still not much Premier League experience,” Pochettino added.
“He was playing as a winger, not a full-back at Fulham. Ryan is maybe behind Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele, they are 23 and 22 (respectively) and have more experience playing at a high level.
“Ryan is injured for maybe three or four weeks and then we’ll see how he is going to adapt.”
Tottenham Hotspur suffered a fresh blow to their Champions League hopes on Monday when Moussa Sissoko appeared to be ruled out of the first leg of their semi-final against Ajax.
The midfielder, one of Tottenham’s outstanding players this season, suffered a groin injury in the return leg of the quarter-final tie at Manchester City and Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino believes he will not be fit for another two weeks.
That would rule Sissoko out of the north London club’s home leg against Dutch giants Ajax on April 30, with Tottenham already missing South Korea star Son Heung-min through suspension.
Son has been a key man for Spurs while England captain Harry Kane has been sidelined with an ankle injury.
“Moussa Sissoko is not going to be fit, maybe for the next two weeks, we hope he can recover before but I am not so optimistic,” Pochettino said ahead of Tuesday’s Premier League match at home to Brighton.
“Harry Winks we don’t know because it is a problem that is one day very good, next day not very good, it is about assessing each day.
“We hope he will be available for Tuesday but we are not sure.”
There are also doubts over the fitness of France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, with Pochettino saying: “Lloris I hope yes, we are going to assess, we have a training session and we hope it is not a big issue, we hope he is going to be available.”
‘Thinking In The Today’
Tottenham may have lost to Manchester City in their second game at the Etihad inside 72 hours but they remain firmly in the hunt for a top-four finish in the Premier League after both Arsenal and Manchester United lost as well at the weekend.
If Spurs beat Brighton and West Ham in back-to-back games at their new ground they will be on course for a top-four finish that would qualify them for next season’s Champions League regardless of whether they win this season’s edition of European club football’s elite competition.
“We are not thinking of Ajax,” Pochettino said. “We showed at Manchester City that we are thinking in the today and that competition, the Premier League.”
The Argentinian added: “Now our energy is in Brighton. It is so clear that we have two objectives — one is to be in the top four at the end of the season and the other is to beat Ajax, but we need to go step-by-step.
“The players, they know it, I think the behaviour and the mentality are perfect.”
Despite concerns a mid-season move to a new ground may prove unsettling, Pochettino’s men have won all their three matches so far at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, scoring seven goals and not conceding any in the process.
“We hope we can keep going, getting the same result,” said Pochettino.
“It is going to be fantastic and it is going to be helpful for us playing in the new stadium with our fans and we hope and wish to repeat the performances of the previous results.”
Mauricio Pochettino has insisted a book he has published about his time at Tottenham Hotspur cannot be blamed for the north London club’s recent dip in form.
Tuesday’s 2-1 loss to Leicester City meant Spurs have now won just once in their last five Premier League games.
The slump has seen Tottenham drop to seventh in the table and they are now a huge 16 points behind leaders Manchester City, with Spurs’ hopes of being crowned champions of England for the first time since 1961 now unlikely to be realised this season.
This run of poor results has also coincided with the publication of Pochettino’s book ‘Brave New World’, which chronicles the Argentinian manager’s time in charge at the club.
When Spurs great Glenn Hoddle published a diary while still England manager after the 1998 World Cup, he was widely criticised by both players and pundits alike for breaching the confidences of his squad.
But Pochettino was adamant his book had not caused similar disruption, saying the Tottenham players knew where they stood with him, even though since the first extracts were released in the middle of October they have won only four of their 10 games compared to eight victories in 11 prior to publication.
“The problem is when you lie, no? When you lie inside and you want to show that you are different,” Pochettino said. “But for me I am here how I am inside, and all that has appeared in this book the players know better than me. There is nothing to hide.”
Pochettino also appeared to indicate that any players looking to blame Spurs’ woes on the book would get very short shrift.
“We won a lot of games when the book appeared,” the former Southampton manager added. “I’m more than happy if the book is the problem, it’s easy — on the bench or out of the list.”
Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino says domestic cup success would make little difference to his side and that the Premier League and Champions League are the “two real trophies” he is desperate to win.
Spurs, who host West Ham United in the last 16 of the League Cup on Wednesday, have not won a major prize of any kind since lifting the trophy in 2008. They last won the FA Cup in 1991.
Pochettino’s men have finished runners-up in the Premier League in each of the last two seasons, to Leicester City and then Chelsea, and Champions League qualification remains essential ahead of their move to a new stadium next year.
Despite the chance of League Cup success, Pochettino said the club’s priorities lie firmly elsewhere.
“Our objective is to win the Premier League, to win the Champions League — for me the two real trophies,” said Pochettino.
“And then there is the FA Cup. Of course I would like to win and I would like to win the Carabao (League) Cup, but if you want to be a big team and fight for big things, I think it is impossible if you don’t use all the squad and rotate in England.”
Pochettino added: “The manager always wants to win. To win the Carabao Cup? Yes, of course but it would not change the life of Tottenham.
“The FA Cup? Fantastic, I would love to win all the competitions in the world but it really changes your life if you win the Premier League or the Champions League. That is the truth.”
Danny Rose is set to make his first Tottenham start in almost nine months against West Ham but Pochettino admitted Erik Lamela is still not ready to return, despite hopes the winger would feature at Wembley.
Harry Kane will also be rested, meaning a rare start for Fernando Llorente up front, while Michel Vorm will replace Hugo Lloris in goal. Victor Wanyama remains sidelined with a knee problem.
It would take a world record 250 million euro ($294 million) fee to land the on-fire Harry Kane from Tottenham Hotspur according to Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
The English striker’s 13 goals in 12 games this season has sparked rumours he could be the latest star to swap Spurs for Spain following in the footsteps of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale.
However, having had his fingers burned in paying a then world record 100 million euros for Bale in 2013, Perez is wary of trying to negotiate with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy.
“I think he is a magnificent player and, moreover, he is young with many years ahead of him to progress,” Perez told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope after attending FIFA’s annual awards.
And Perez believes Levy’s reputation for delaying moves until late in the transfer window to get the best possible deal means he would want more than the 222 million euros Paris Saint-Germain paid to snatch Neymar from Barcelona in August.
“No, (I haven’t asked the price) because if I ask, he will tell me 250 million,” Perez added.
“We have made friends with Tottenham over the time it took to sign Luka Modric and Gareth Bale as with the two of them we ended up signing them on the final day of the window.
“We ended up having a good friendship and he (Levy) always says to me when we win the European Cup: ‘Thanks for winning the European Cup with my players'”.
Madrid’s feat in retaining the Champions League was rewarded on Monday as Cristiano Ronaldo won FIFA’s “The Best” player for the second straight year, whilst Zinedine Zidane picked up the best coach award and four other Real players – Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Toni Kroos and Modric – joined Ronaldo in the team of the year.
However, the European champions were unable to get the better of Kane’s Spurs in a 1-1 Champions League draw at the Santiago Bernabeu last week.
And Kane will have another chance to show Madrid what they are missing when the sides meet again on November 1 at Wembley with top spot in Group H at stake.
The Football Association charged West Ham and Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday for failing to control their players during their Premier League clash at the weekend.
Spurs won Saturday’s derby at the London Stadium 3-2 but almost squandered a three-goal lead.
The Hammers were pressing for an equaliser in stoppage time when tempers frayed.
“West Ham United and Tottenham Hotspur have been charged by the FA following their fixture on Saturday,” a statement from the FA said.
“It is alleged that in or around the 95th minute of the game, both clubs failed to ensure their players conducted themselves in an orderly fashion. They have until 6:00 pm on September 28, 2017 to respond to the charge.”
Five players were cautioned by referee Michael Oliver in stoppage time.
West Ham’s Andy Carroll, Winston Reid and Andre Ayew were shown yellow cards, while Eric Dier and Fernando Llorente were booked for Spurs.
The incident that prompted the charge came after a foul by Carroll, which drew angry reactions from both sides and saw four players booked. Ayew’s caution for a foul came earlier in stoppage time.
Spurs were under pressure after being reduced to 10 men with 20 minutes remaining when Serge Aurier received a second yellow card.
Ivorian right-back Serge Aurier has joined Tottenham Hotspur from Paris Saint-Germain on a five-year contract, the two clubs announced on Thursday.
Spurs are reported to have paid PSG around £23 million ($29.6 million, 25 million euros) to sign the 24-year-old, who won two Ligue 1 titles during his three years in Paris.
The deal was held up as Spurs’ request for a work permit was complicated by the suspended two-month prison sentence Aurier was given after an assault on a police officer outside a Paris nightclub in May 2016.
“This is a huge and exciting opportunity at a massive football club and I am determined to prove myself as a professional both on and off the pitch,” Aurier said in comments published on the Spurs website.
“This is a fresh start for me and I will do everything to make the Spurs fanbase, which is huge and diverse, proud of me.
“The fans are the most important people at any club and I am looking forward to showing them and everyone at Spurs the real Serge Aurier.”
Aurier’s conviction for elbowing a police officer meant he was barred from entering the United Kingdom by the British authorities for PSG’s Champions League game against Arsenal last November.
His reference to Spurs’ “diverse” fanbase was a pointed one as he was suspended by PSG last year for making a homophobic slur against former coach Laurent Blanc in a social media video.
Aurier, capped 40 times by Ivory Coast, began his career with French club Lens and spent two and a half seasons at Toulouse before joining PSG in January 2014.
During his time at Parc des Princes, he also won three French Cups and three French League Cups.
At Spurs he will fill the void left by England right-back Kyle Walker’s £45 million move to Manchester City. He can also play at centre-back.
Aurier is Spurs’ fourth acquisition of the transfer window after Davinson Sanchez, a club-record £42 million recruit from Ajax, back-up goalkeeper Paulo Gazzanigga and Argentinian youngster Juan Foyth.