Crystal Palace and Queens Park Rangers are said to be interested in Benoit Assou-Ekotto, who is out of favour at Tottenham Hotspur.
The Cameroon international has been at White Hart Lane since the summer of 2006, when Martin Jol paid a fee of around £3.5million to take him from Lens. His first four seasons in North London were considered a success as he racked up over 120 appearances in the Premier League, however, he suffered a knee injury in September 2012, and has largely been on the outside ever since.
Assou-Ekotto spent last term on loan at QPR, playing 31 times as he helped Harry Redknapp’s side earn promotion from the Championship. The 30-year-old return to Spurs ahead of the current campaign, but he has yet to be used by Mauricio Pochettino, who has instead preferred to use Danny Rose at left fullback whilst he also has £10million Ben Davies in reserve.
The Argentine coach is prepared to let the defender leave the club on a free transfer, as his contract is due to expire at the end of the season. The Mirror claim Redknapp would welcome him back to Loftus Road, whilst capital rivals Palace are also believed to be interested. But the tabloid claims Assou-Ekotto is seeking a salary of £40,000-per-week which neither club would be willing to meet, meaning he will likely sit out the remaining seven months of his deal on the sidelines.
Such a stance is unlikely to come as a surprise to those who have followed Assou-Ekotto during his time in England. In April 2010 he told The Guardian that he has no qualms about being described as a mercenary, admitting that he plays the game for financial means alone. This is something he would go on to repeat in the Daily Mail when interviewed in August 2011.
“I play football for money, because we only play for 10 years, and when I retire I will need money,” Assou-Ekotto revealed. “If I stay at Tottenham, it’s because it will be the best deal for me. You mustn’t undersell yourself, just because you like the club. I can stay only if there is money. True relationships don’t exist in football, it’s not about friendship or camaraderie.”