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Last Updated: Monday, 28 January 2008, 18:24 GMT
Spurs win chase to sign Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate
Woodgate has played 16 times for Middlesbrough this season
Tottenham have won the race to sign Middlesbrough's England defender Jonathan Woodgate.

Three Premier League clubs bid for the 28-year-old, but he rejected a move to Newcastle and another unnamed club to join the White Hart Lane outfit.

"Spurs is moving forward with a great coaching set-up and a lot of talented players," he told the club website.

"I was given the opportunity to talk to Tottenham and this is where I wanted to come from the outset."

It is believed that Spurs have paid Middlesbrough around 8m for Woodgate's services, who joined the Teessiders last season after an unsuccessful spell in Spain.

He joined Real Madrid from Newcastle in 2004 for 13.4m and Spurs coach Juande Ramos has been an admirer since his days as manager of Seville.

606: DEBATE

The White Hart Lane club are also looking for cover for Ledley King, who is being brought back gradually from knee surgery.

"We've got a great future ahead of us with being in Europe as well as the Carling Cup final and a coach who has also won things during his time with Sevilla," added the England international, who will wear the number 39 shirt this season.

"Over the last three months I feel I've developed a lot of consistency in my game. Hopefully I can carry on with the consistency for Spurs.

"Spurs' cup form has been good and I think we are in a false position in the league considering the quality we have. Hopefully we can climb the table and finish as high as we can. I don't think a European place is out of the question yet."

I haven't played in any cup competitions so far this season because I was rested for those games, so it may be a blessing in disguise

Jonathan Woodgate

And, with Spurs looking strong in the Uefa Cup and having already booked their place in the Carling Cup final, Woodgate hopes to play a full part for the rest of the season.

"I'm 28 now, so I've got to take on the mantle of an experienced player and I'm sure I can live up to it.

"I haven't played in any cup competitions so far this season because I was rested for those games, so it may be a blessing in disguise," he said.

Boro manager Gareth Southgate, who has the likes of Emanuel Pogatetz, David Wheater and Robert Huth available as cover at centre-half, explained that he agreed to sell Woodgate because his head had been turned by the chance of a transfer.

"You're looking for everyone at your club to want to be here and be part of it," Southgate told Middlesbrough's official website.

"We wanted to give Jonathan the opportunity to speak to other clubs because when clubs call you about a player it usually means the player knows about it anyway.

"We were then asking a question of Jonathan - do you want to be here and be part of what we want to do or do you want to head off?

He's a class act - a great reader of the game and a player that has the bit of pace he needs to deal with things

BBC Sport expert Alan Hansen

"It seems he wanted to head off."

However, Southgate believes there is enough quality in the Boro squad to cope with the loss of an international defender.

He added: "We have some outstanding players in that area, internationals in Huth, Pogatetz and Under-21 internationals like David Wheater and Chris Riggott.

"There are also people like Matthew Bates, who's coming back from injury and young Seb Hines who is coming through the ranks and we think a lot of."

BBC Sport football analyst Alan Hansen said he was not surprised at the number of clubs interested in signing Woodgate.

Hansen said: "He's a class act as a defender - a great reader of the game who sees trouble early and has the bit of pace he needs to deal with things.

"That sort of defender is few and far between at the moment.

"If it weren't for his injuries, one of the big four would have gone for him."



SEE ALSO
Keegan realistic on Woodgate miss
29 Jan 08 |  Newcastle United
Boro close in on Brazilian Alves
28 Jan 08 |  Middlesbrough
Woodgate claims North East award
03 Oct 07 |  Middlesbrough
Woodgate living the Teesside dream
11 Jun 07 |  Middlesbrough
Woodgate eases fears over injury
11 May 07 |  Middlesbrough
Boro confirm 7m Woodgate signing
26 Apr 07 |  Middlesbrough


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