HULL City are in talks for Spurs’ central midfielder Tom Huddlestone but Sunderland remain in contention for the England international’s signature.
Both clubs expressed an interest in the 26-year-old very early in the close season but there was little in the way of developments until a dramatic day yesterday when it emerged Hull had made a breakthrough and were in talks with the player.
That represents a major U turn in the Tigers’ transfer policy going into the summer when their board said there would be no repetition of the big spending of the past which put the club’s financial future in peril when they were relegated from the Premier League in 2010.
Part of that spending was the club transfer record signing of Jimmy Bullard for £5m, who proved to be a disastrous acquisition for the cub.
Hull were not expected to break that barrier this summer but it now looks like they will do exactly that to bring in Huddlestone.
Ex-Sunderland manager Steve Bruce, now in charge at Hull, has identified a physical playmaker as key to the Tigers’ Premier League survival hopes this season.
And, crucially, he now appears to have persuaded the board to back his judgement with Huddlestone firmly in the Tigers’ sights.
They will face competition from the Black Cats though with Paolo Di Canio also wanting Huddlestone and putting pressure on Sunderland to get him,
In Denmark last week, Di Canio could have been trying to describe almost no-one as much as Huddlestone when he said: “Most important to me is the need to get a key player in midfield - someone’s who’s English.
“He needs to be English with a physical presence, because we have analysed that is what we need and also a player of very good quality because we want to play attractive football.”
Huddlestone fits that criteria perfectly and there are not many alternatives out there available on the market.
But Sunderland, led by Director of Football Roberto De Fanti have so far been cagey in negotiations, preferring to play a waiting game with notorious hard-bargainers Spurs.
The waiting appears to be over now though with Hull forcing the issue, as well as Di Canio pushing for a deal to be made.
The head coach said: “I hope it can be done. I know they are working on it.”
Sunderland are now expected to show their hand and push Hull all the way for the player.
To succeed, Sunderland will have to match or exceed Hull’s offer and then persuade the player himself his future is best served on Wearside, rather than Humberside.