Gallas set to make Tottenham debut

CHIGWELL - France defender William Gallas is expected to make his debut for Tottenham Hotspur at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday and might even be handed the captain's armband for the Premier League clash.

The 33-year-old former Arsenal and Chelsea defender will become the first player to feature for all three London teams, having joined Spurs last month on a one-year deal after being released by the Gunners where he had been skipper.

"There's every chance I will play William Gallas on Saturday," manager Harry Redknapp told reporters at the Spurs training ground. "I'm considering making him captain."

The move would be controversial because the Tottenham fans are not quite sure what to make of the former Arsenal defender's decision to join the club from their north London rivals.

Spurs have, however, lost regular skipper Michael Dawson for up to two months after he strained ligaments on England duty while fellow central defender Ledley King is set to be rested ahead of the club's Champions League debut at Werder Bremen on Tuesday.

Asked whether club captain King would play on Saturday, Redknapp said: "It's a difficult decision. We might need his experience there (in Bremen) on Tuesday night."

That leaves Gallas, who has played 84 times for France, to partner Cameroon defender Sebastien Bassong in central defence.

"You don't play in teams that win championships, like he (Gallas) did at Chelsea, you don't play for your country as many times as he has ... unless you're a top player.

"He's got a bit of pace, he's a great defender, and he'll be a big asset. I think he'll be a great signing for us."


Redknapp believes Gallas has shown admirable mental strength by moving to White Hart Lane from the Emirates where he was stripped of the captaincy in 2008 when he criticised team mates.

"You have to be strong as a person to do that (leave Arsenal for Spurs). It's easy not to have done that," said Redknapp. "He could have gone off and played somewhere else."

Redknapp added that a player of Gallas's class would have cost between 8 and 10 million pounds in the transfer market and believes he has got a bargain.

"If you want a player who is a top centre-half to play in the Premier League, you have to pay that money," he said. "It was a no-brainer. He cost nothing. He's not on silly money."

Another of Tottenham's new signings, Netherlands playmaker Rafael van der Vaart, could also make his debut at Albion having joined from Real Madrid while Brazilian midfielder Sandro is available after finally moving from Internacional.

Carlo Cudicini is likely to deputise again for injured Brazilian goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes although Spurs have signed Croatia keeper Stipe Pletikosa on loan from Spartak Moscow.

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