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Chelsea and Tottenham to battle for Zenit’s Brazilian exile

| 11.03.2014

Tottenham Hotspur have been given fresh hope in their pursuit of Zenit St Petersburg striker Hulk after Luciano Spalletti – the man who first signed the Brazilian – was fired by the Russian club.

However the Lilywhites could face stiff competition for the 27-year-old, with London rivals Chelsea also keen to bolster their attacking options in the summer amid suggestions that Samuel Eto’o will depart Stamford Bridge at the end of the current campaign.

The Blues can currently be backed at 4/6 to win the Premier League after Saturday’s 4-0 win over Tim Sherwood’s team saw the Pensioners extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points.

But manager Jose Mourinho has made no secret of his desire to recruit a new striker, with Fernando Torres continuing to prove inconsistent for the Special One and Demba Ba yet to enjoy a run in the team under the Portuguese boss.

“The problem with Chelsea is I lack a scorer,” he told a French reporter in a secretly recorded conversation earlier this month.

Hulk could represent the ideal addition to the Chelsea squad, with the former Porto man in the midst of an impressive season with Zenit, scoring 12 goals and providing 10 assists in 22 games for the St Petersburg club.

Despite this, there have been rumblings regarding a summer move with Borussia Dortmund’s Sebastian Kehl claiming that the striker sounded out the Bundesliga veteran over a transfer to the Champions League finalists during their 4-2 home defeat.

Hulk has also had to deal with abuse from some small sections of the Zenit fan base, who previously released a manifesto calling for the club to not sign any non-white or gay players.

A move to London could therefore prove the ideal escape, with either one of Chelsea or Spurs likely to offer impressive wages to the forward – albeit not quite on a par with his current pay in Russia.

However the Blues look to have an advantage over Spurs, with the club able to take advantage of owner Roman Abramovich’s links to Zenit and current sponsors Gazprom, as well as offering the forward the guarantee of Champions League football next term.

Tottenham are currently 13/2 to finish in the top four this season – fail to meet that target and any hope of Hulk could fast evaporate.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Jack Beresford

Jack Beresford is a content writer with over five years of experience in writing about sport and betting, including a two-year spell with Axonn Media. Contributes articles to HereIsTheCity and Lad Bible, while previous credits include Bwin, FTB Pro, Bleacher Report and the QBE rugby. Avid follower of tennis, rugby union, motorsport and football, Jack also writes about poker for Cardspiel.com alongside Guardian journalist Dominic Wells.