English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur has resumed its pursuit of D.C. United's Bobby Convey -- almost one year after a deal to sell the midfielder to the London-based team fell through at the last minute because of work permit issues.
According to sources close to United and MLS, Tottenham is expressing serious interest in Convey and offering an amount consistent with what was agreed upon last summer before the transfer collapsed (an estimated $1.2 million, which could increase depending on Convey's performance).
Last year Convey had agreed to a four-year contract with Spurs -- as the club is commonly known -- for at least $400,000 per season. Dutch and French clubs were scouting him earlier this year.
"There's still a long way to go," one source said, "but it could finally happen."
Convey, 21, who is in his fifth season for United, would still have to acquire a British work permit, but his case is much stronger than last year because he has become a regular on the U.S. national team (he started against Poland on Sunday in Chicago). His lack of international experience played a role in his rejection a year ago.
Convey didn't practice yesterday because of a leg injury and wasn't available to comment. United President Kevin Payne and Convey's agent, Dan Segal, declined to discuss the matter.
If Convey were to leave, United would have a significant amount of space under the salary cap to add talent. Convey is scheduled to earn $143,000 this season. Last month United released forward Ronald Cerritos ($162,000) but didn't sign a replacement right away. If the player market isn't appealing, the club could wait until the offseason to make a major acquisition.
As talks continue, Convey is recovering from a hemotoma in one of his thighs, suffered during Sunday's U.S. match. He will not play in tonight's exhibition vs. England's Nottingham Forest at RFK Stadium and is questionable for Saturday's league game against visiting Los Angeles.
Ghanaian Player to Debut
Nana Kuffour's long wait is over. The 19-year-old central midfielder from Ghana, who has been training with the club for several months, finally received his international clearance and is expected to make his debut tonight. He will wear No. 24.
"You should expect a lot of skill from Nana," said teammate Freddy Adu. "You guys are going to see stuff that you probably wouldn't see from any other player because he dazzles people with the ball." . . .
Nottingham Forest is coming off a 14th-place finish in the 24-team English First Division, which is one step below the glamorous Premier League. Forest, however, was an accomplished team about 25 years ago. It went unbeaten in 42 straight games in 1977-78, an English record, and won the European club championship in 1979 and 1980.
The club has been training in Richmond this week, and will play the University of Richmond as well as the minor league Richmond Kickers and Virginia Beach Mariners.
United midfielder Ben Olsen was nearly sold to Forest a few years ago following a successful stint on loan, but a broken ankle ended his hopes. "It will be a little strange to see that uniform," he said. "I've never played on any other team" besides United and Forest.
Forest will be without Marlon King, a Jamaican forward who scored four goals in two World Cup qualifiers vs. Haiti last month. He is taking time off before the English season starts in early August. . . .
United defender Ryan Nelsen is questionable this week with a knee ailment, but forward Santino Quaranta, who has missed every game so far after adductor surgery, could make his 2004 debut tonight. . . .
United has acquired a second-round pick in the 2005 draft from Colorado for a discovery pick, which the Rapids used to sign Cuban forward Alberto Delgado. . . .
Prior to the United-Forest match, the Washington Freedom, which won the WUSA title last fall before the league ceased operations, will face the Nottingham women's team. Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach will not play because of U.S. Olympic team commitments, but about 10 former Freedom players were on the preliminary roster. At halftime of United's game, a banner honoring the Freedom's championship will be unveiled on the south wall at RFK.