Gallas agrees landmark Spurs move

CHIGWELL - Signing William Gallas on a free transfer was a "no brainer", Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp said on Friday when he confirmed the former Chelsea and Arsenal defender was on the brink of joining.

The 33-year-old Frenchman, twice a Premier League title winner with Chelsea before joining Arsenal in 2006, has agreed a one-year deal with Tottenham and was due to complete a medical later on Friday.

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If he joins Spurs as expected Gallas would become the first player ever to play league football for London's three biggest clubs, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea.

He is a free agent after failing to agree a new contract with Tottenham's bitter north London rivals Arsenal. Redknapp said the Frenchman, who has played 84 times for France scoring five goals, had taken a considerable drop in salary to move to White Hart Lane.

"He is having his medical later and all being well he'll be a Spurs player today," Redknapp told reporters at Tottenham's training ground in Essex.

"I just think it's a no brainer - a player of that experience and that quality on a free transfer. He's a top class defender and I'm well pleased to have him here."


Gallas's connections with Chelsea and more importantly Arsenal have raised eyebrows but Redknapp played down any negative reaction from Tottenham fans who never forgave Sol Campbell for running down his contract with the club before joining Arsenal.

"He's not the first player to go from Arsenal to Tottenham or Tottenham to Arsenal," Redknapp said. "It happens. (Carlos) Tevez went from Man United to Man City. He is a footballer and a great lad and I've been very impressed with him.

"He will improve Tottenham and that's all I'm bothered about. He's shown character to want to come and play here. He's got the bottle to come and want to play here. He's done nothing wrong."

Gallas's temperament has occasionally been questioned.

He once sulkily sat down on the pitch during an away game at Birmingham and lost the Arsenal captaincy after that incident in 2008 following an interview in which he questioned the courage of some of his team mates.

"I don't think his attitude can be questioned, he gets annoyed with people who are not as professional as he is which is not a bad thing, that can't do any harm," Redknapp said.

"Whenever we've played against him I've thought he was a world class defender."

Tottenham's official club historian Andy Porter told Reuters he would be the first player ever to appear for Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea.

"There has yet to be a player to feature for all three clubs in either the Football League or Premier League," he said.

Clive Allen played for Chelsea and Spurs and also signed for Arsenal but never played for them. George Graham played for Chelsea and Arsenal and later managed Spurs.


Gallas will provide extra options at the back for Redknapp as club skipper Ledley King struggles to play more than once a week because of knee problems. Jonathan Woodgate has also been ruled out of Tottenham's 25-man squad because of a groin problem that will require more surgery.

Of more immediate concern for Redknapp is a shortage of strikers for the Premier League visit to Stoke City on Saturday.

Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko are all ruled out after being injured in the 3-2 Champions League playoff, first leg defeat against Young Boys on Tuesday.

Midfielders Luka Modric and Giovanni dos Santos are also ruled out.

"I'm one short of having enough subs for tomorrow, Redknapp said. "It leaves me with Peter Crouch, he's the only striker we've got tomorrow. Not a bad one but that's all we've got."

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