Filed: Saturday, 2nd August 2003
By: Graeme Howlett
West Ham confirmed tonight that French striker Freddie Kanoute is being sold to Tottenham in a player plus cash deal, ending months of speculation over his future.
Kanoute is moving to North London with wide-man Matthew Etherington coming the other way. Reports on the additional fee involved have varied from between £2-3.5m, although the lower figure was quoted on the Tottenham club website.
The deal finally puts an end to a topsy-turvy three years in East London for the 25-year-old striker, who was signed by Harry Redknapp in a £3.7m deal with Lens in 2000.
Whilst clearly talented and capable of scoring important goals many supporters felt that the 6'4" striker often failed to live up to his potential, whilst a string of injuries hardly helped his cause.
And it was those injuries which it is believed finally persuaded the Hammers to sell; with such a small squad already for next season it is imperative that all players play as many games as possible. Kanoute started just 80 matches in his three years at the club.
Meanwhile Matthew Etherington - not to be confused with former Hammer Craig, who left Upton Park two years ago - is being brought in to fill the troublesome left midfield berth, a position which has caused Glenn Roeder problems during his entire tenure as Hammers boss.
Last season both Joe Cole and Trevor Sinclair played there although neither managed to solve the problem caused by the lack of a proper wide left-sided player in the entire squad.
Truro-born Etherington moved to Tottenham in 1999 in a £500,000 deal with Peterborough. His appearances for the North London side have been few and far between since; the 5'10" midfielder having made just 24 competitive starts (whilst scoring two goals).
Glenn Roeder, speaking on West Ham's club site tonight confirmed the deal - whilst adding that he expects to secure another striker imminently.
"We have agreed personal terms with Matt; we are close to the transfer," he said. "When we secure his services, and with Freddie going the other way we hope to continue our efforts to bring in another striker. We are in the advanced stages of doing so."
Roeder also confirmed that the club had now secured the services of veteran Rob Lee, adding:
"I am delighted that the Rob Lee deal has just been completed. The striker would be our third signing now after Rob and David Connolly."
Hammers supporters will no doubt be glad to hear that the club are finally beginning to sign players in an effort to boost a woefully under-strength squad in time for the assault on the First Division.
But it is the quality of those players - an ex-Derby veteran, a journeyman striker and a Tottenham reserve - that still fails to sit comfortably with some supporters used to watching the likes of Paolo Di Canio, Glen Johnson and Trevor Sinclair.
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