Tottenham and Chelsea set to share Wembley
Tottenham Hotspur have matched Chelsea's offer to make Wembley their temporary home in a bid that could result in the London rivals sharing the national stadium for one season.
Chelsea were hopeful of securing exclusivity of Wembley while Stamford Bridge is redeveloped by submitting a four-year bid, thought to be worth around £15m a season, that would have left Tottenham facing the prospect of moving to Milton Keynes for the 2017-18 campaign.
However, Spurs have responded by matching Chelsea's offer for one season and there is growing optimism that may be enough to convince the Football Association to inform Chelsea that they will have to share Wembley if they need to relocate in the summer of 2017. A deal to house both Tottenham and Chelsea could earn the FA as much as £75m and would prevent any accusations of favouritism.
Spurs have always been open to the prospect of sharing Wembley and have pushed their case with the FA, but have not negotiated directly with Chelsea over the matter.
Chelsea made a bid for exclusivity because they do not want to make concessions over the 2017-18 domestic and European fixture lists with Tottenham and believe they must sell Wembley as a more long-term prospect to their fans.
Tottenham need a ground to play in for the 2017-18 season while their new £400m stadium is built and are further along in the process than Chelsea, having already started work on the basement foundations and put the contract for the main construction out for tender.
Chelsea submitted a planning application for the £500m redevelopment of Stamford Bridge, which will include increasing the capacity to 60,000, at the start of December 2015 and the club are aiming to start work in 2017.
Chelsea have acknowledged that they will need a temporary home for at least three years and need the protection of being able to play at Wembley for a fourth season if there are any unforeseen problems or delays in the build.
Meanwhile, Tottenham have held talks with Newcastle United over the out-of-favour winger Andros Townsend. But Newcastle will consider turning their attention to Queens Park Rangers wide man Matt Phillips if they cannot agree a deal with the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy.
Townsend, 24, is Newcastle's first choice as they attempt to add more pace to their squad before the end of this month and the St James' Park club still hope to find an agreement for the England international.
Newcastle contacted Spurs over Townsend last Friday, but are yet to get back in touch after Levy reiterated his £14 m valuation of the player, who is not available for loan. Spurs also underlined their tough approach by including Townsend in the club's U-21 game against Manchester City yesterday, rather than trying to protect him in readiness for a move. That is unlikely to stop Newcastle returning with a bid to try to tempt Levy into selling, but Phillips is on a list of alternative targets if the asking price on Townsend remains too high.
Bournemouth, West Bromwich Albion and Watford have already shown an interest in Phillips, who is thought to be available for around £5m as QPR attempt to raise cash. (© Daily Telegraph, London)