SPURS SWOOP FOR GARDNER

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TOTTENHAM have signed Port Vale centre half Anthony Gardner for a fee which will rise in excess of £1 million as the future of Sol Campbell is thrown into more doubt.

The 20-year-old Vale star has been chased by a host of top clubs including Derby County and Leeds United but has agreed to move to London following weekend talks with his new employers.

The young defender has passed a medical and was already being dubbed `the new Sol Campbell` in The Potteries. There will now be a great deal of concern amongst Spurs fans that Gardner will be groomed to replace the England international.

Click here for our exclusive story on whether Gardner could fill the boots of the Spurs superstar.

Director of Football, David Pleat said: "He is a very talented young defender and we are very happy to have him here." It was Pleat`s long-standing friendship with Brian Horton, who was his captain at Luton, that helped push through the deal.

"It`s part and parcel of today`s game," admitted Horton. "There is a dearth of English talent. It`s the biggest offer we`ve had as a club and we`ve had to take it."

"The fee is not in black and white. It depends on how successful he is and how many games he plays but it could be in excess of £1 million and it is a big deal for the club. He can go all the way."

Campbell is out of contract at the end of next season and therefore available to move on under the Bosman Ruling - costing Spurs up to £20 million. The left-footed former schools sprinter Gardner may well be needed to fill his boots next season unless the 25-year-old signs a new deal at White Hart Lane.

Graeme Bailey