Thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges...
As expected Tottenham have pipped West Ham to the loan signing of Monaco striker Eidur Gudjohnsen, leaving the door open for out-of-favour Spurs striker Robbie Keane to leave White Hart Lane. The Mail reports the Hammers had been expected to complete a deal for the Icelandic international after the player completed a medical on Tuesday, but Harry Redknapp swooped in with a late offer and used the lure of a Champions League challenge to snatch Gudjohnson, a former Chelsea player, from under the nose of their city rivals. The Spurs boss told The Sun: "We've been talking about him for nearly two weeks and when we heard West Ham were interested we made our move. We are not paying a penny more than West Ham were offering him. Two identical deals were on the table. In the end it was a straight choice for Eidur."
The arrival of 31-year-old Gudjohnson brings the amount of senior strikers at Spurs to five. Roman Pavlyuchenko has made no secret of his desire to leave the club while Robbie Keane, too, has grown frustrated by his bit-part role. The Irishman's agent has been reportedly been sounding out a possible loan deal with a number of clubs, including West Ham and Celtic. Keane, though, is Tottenham's top earner and his salary could put any move in doubt. Across London, an indignant David Sullivan is quietly seething at the actions of his North London rivals and has taken to muttering dark forebodings of karmic retribution. It all portends to the paths of the two clubs crossing again before the January transfer window finally slams shut.
To that end, Sky Sports 'understand' that West Ham are fixing their sights on a retaliatory double swoop on Tottenham, but this time for David Bentley and Alan Hutton as oppose to Keane. Bentley, who scored a goal in a rare appearance in Tuesday's win over Fulham, has failed to hold down a regular place in the Spurs side this season with Aaron Lennon keeping him on the sidelines. Sky are reporting that the former Arsenal man is believed to be keen on a move away from White Hart Lane in search of regular first-team football and West Ham are ready to offer him the chance to move to Upton Park. By the same token, Zola is said to be hopeful of luring Bentley's team-mate Hutton to East London with the Irons in the market for a new right-back. Hutton has been linked with a switch away from North London after failing to hold down a consistent spot in Harry Redknapp's side, and could be tempted to move on in search of regular action as he looks to safeguard his place in the national team. The possibility of doing business could depend on the degree to which the already frayed relations between the two clubs has degenerated.
Sky are also carrying the story that Luis Jimenez has completed his move to Parma after West Ham released him from his contract. The Inter Milan forward was on loan at Upton Park for the rest of the season but yesterday the Hammers agreed to end that prematurely. Now Jimenez has penned a deal with Parma until the end of the campaign. "I'm happy to go to Parma," Jimenez told Sky Italia. "My experience in the Premier League has not gone as I wanted. Now I hope to stay for a long time in the same team, although in my career until now I have never been able to do so." Parma's sporting director Pietro Leonardi added: "Jimenez is an important player who will give quality to Parma and will help us to achieve the objective of survival."
With one out, could unsettled Stoke City striker James Beattie be on the verge of coming in? Numerous reports this afternoon suggested Gianfranco Zola had earmarked the former Southampton and Everton forward as his preferred option over Man City's Benjani (now a rumoured target for Blackburn Rovers), and the odds on his signing dramatically shortened. Stoke City manager Tony Pullis pulled off a masterstroke by bringing Beattie to the Potters last January with the former England man bagging 7 goals in 16 appearances to help keep Stoke City in the Premier League. However the pair had a very public fall out over the club's Christmas party. Since the incident relations have mellowed but Pullis remains determined to cash in on his wayward striker.
In other news, West Ham could be ready to test Celtic's resolve with a bid for Australian striker Scott McDonald, reports BBC Scotland. The Irons have had the Parkhead goalscorer watched and an enquiry has apparently been made. McDonald, 26, has struggled to secure a regular start under boss Tony Mowbray and Wigan recently ended their interest because of Celtic's asking price. Gordan Strachan, who took over at Boro in October, spent £700,000 on McDonald in 2007 to bring him to Celtic from Motherwell, for whom he had starred for three seasons.
McDonald, who has earned 15 caps for Australia, arrived in British football from Cranbourne Comets. He made only two appearances for each of Southampton and Wimbledon, and had loan spells with Huddersfield Town and Bournemouth. Currently recovering from a hernia operation, McDonald has scored 64 goals in 127 appearances for Celtic and will be keen to start hitting the net regularly to clinch his place in Australia's squad for the World Cup finals in South Africa this summer.
When Sullivan and Gold first sat down with Zola to discuss potential transfer targets it was mentioned at the time that a reserve goalkeeper was on the list. This has seemingly been placed on the back-burner during the increasingly feverish hunt for a striker. Nonetheless, according to rumours printed in La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper, West Ham are back in the hunt for out-of-favour Palermo goalkeeper Rubinho. The Hammers had already been linked with the Brazilian earlier this month, but the Sicilians went on to negotiate a swap deal involving Livorno shot-stopper Francesco Benussi. The article states Rubinho has expressed scepticism about a switch to the Serie A relegation battlers and Palermo might now have to listen to offers from other sides. Rubinho arrived in Sicily from Genoa last summer with high expectations but lost his place in the Rosanero’s first team after a series of high-profile blunders.
Elsewhere, a vast expanse of white greeted anyone who logged on to Pompey's website this morning, sullied only by a message that read "website unavailable". And far from being on the blink as a result of technical issues, it seems the impoverished south-coast club was plumbing such depths of penury that they were unable to pay their website provider. By mid-afternoon the problem had been rectified, which will come as some small crumb of comfort to club staff who will need to access the site tomorrow afternoon in order to read the latest statement explaining why their wages are late again and when they can expect to be paid. With a prognosis this bleak, it was surely only a matter of time before West Ham got linked with one of their players; in this case rampaging left back Nadir Belhadj.
Finally, there is good news with the expected return to action of both Scott Parker and Herita Ilunga for the crucial home game against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday. Talismanic midfielder Parker missed Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Portsmouth at Fratton Park with a tight hamstring, but he is training again this week and is desperate to return. Ilunga has been out since he limped off at White Hart Lane during the 2-0 defeat by Spurs on December 28, but his hamstring has responded well to treatment and he will look to challenge Jonathan Spector for the left back slot this weekend.
Carlton Cole played 20 minutes as a second-half substitute at Pompey and showed some of what the Hammers have been missing since the end of November. He is likely to replace youngster Frank Nouble up front, while James Tomkins is rated as only 50/50 after his clash with Kevin Prince Boateng at Fratton Park that forced him off with a facial injury. Kieron Dyer and Danny Gabbidon are expected to return to full training next week, while Mexican striker Guillermo Franco is perhaps a further week away.