Villarreal throw Roberto Soldado a lifeline

Roberto Soldado is on the verge of moving back to Spain after Tottenham last night reached an agreement to sell the striker to Villarreal.

Soldado became Spurs’ most expensive signing when he moved to north London from Valencia for £26 million (€36 million) in August 2013.

But he scored just 16 goals in 76 appearances over the course of his two seasons at White Hart Lane and found himself below Harry Kane in the pecking order in the second half of last term.

The 30-year-old has now been thrown a lifeline by Villarreal, who confirmed Soldado has agreed a three-year deal and will be presented on Monday.

Meanwhile, Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is not expecting Hugo Lloris to go anywhere after his captain told him he wants to help bring Champions League football back to White Hart Lane.

It is three years since the France skipper swapped Lyon for north London, penning a four-year deal after arriving in a deal that could reach £11.9m. Upon signing, Lloris spoke of his confidence that Spurs could qualify for the Champions League, but three managers and three seasons on they have yet to do so.

The 28-year-old, who last summer extended his deal to 2019, has made no secret of his desire to return to European football’s elite competition, but Pochettino does not worry that desire could see him push for a move to Manchester United.

“There are a lot of rumours,” the Spurs coach said. “Hugo is very happy to be here. His commitment with the club is high. I think we need to be happy because if Manchester United want Lloris, it’s because he’s a great goalkeeper.”

Pochettino is confident Tottenham will this weekend make up for last season’s home and away defeats to Stoke. “It’s a good opportunity to take our revenge,” Pochettino said of today’s match.

“It’s a different season, we’re happy with our performance – disappointed with the result – against United but I think the way we played, our performance was good. We need to show Saturday we deserved more.” Danny Rose, Andros Townsend, Alex Pritchard and Lloris are fit to face the Potters.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes could unleash his latest eye-catching arrival, Xherdan Shaqiri, on Spurs after he joined the Potters from Inter Milan for a club-record £12m. The Swiss international adds to an array of attackers including Ibrahim Afellay, Bojan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic and Jon Walters.


Lifestyle

For 2020, statement-making in interiors has expanded to just about anything we like as long as it draws the eye towards it in the way a fireplace or television dominating a room would typically have done in the past, writes Carol O'CallaghanHow just one item can create a focal point in a room and even spark a conversation

Dara McAnulty talks about his friendship with Chris Packham, his struggles with autism and the buzz around his debut book.Dara McAnulty: Meet the bright new teenage voice for conservation

'You see, in a classroom, I know the rules. I’m not perfect but I’m in the right ballpark at least. I can see and hear it in my students’ reactions, in their contributions from the stands.'Secret Diary of an Irish Teacher: Living the dream in a lockdown nightmare

'The old doll said we can’t go to Tenerife this year because her Mam would be ashamed if she went against the government's advice, whoever's in the government these days.'Ask Audrey: 'C’mere, what’s the story with getting ripped off by Kerry people?'

More From The Irish Examiner