New Tottenham Stadium 'absolutely' most likely home for London NFL team, says Osi Umenyiora

Malik Ouzia
Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty I

Former NFL star Osi Umenyiora says it would have been "incredible" if the FA had accepted Shahid Khan's offer to buy Wembley, but believes Tottenham's new stadium is now in pole position to host a London franchise.

Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, had tabled a bid of £600million to buy the national stadium, which has hosted at least one NFL game every year since 2007, but withdrew the offer last week, citing a lack of support from within the FA.

Tottenham's new stadium has been designed with NFL in mind, featuring a separate interchangeable playing surface, and had been due to host this month's Oakland Raiders vs Seattle Seahawks game before construction delays meant the match was moved to Wembley.

However, the club already have a deal with the NFL to host at least two games per season for ten years and when asked whether Tottenham was now the most likely home for a London franchise, two-time Super Bowl champion Umenyiora said: "Yes, absolutely.

London-born Umenyiora played at Wembley for the Atlanta Falcons during the 2014 International Series (Getty Images)

"I think [Tottenham] know exactly what's going to happen here as far as the NFL is concerned," Umenyiora told Standard Sport. "The NFL has invested a huge sum of money in this market, to expand into this market, and if you know anything about the NFL, you know that they're not in to wasting money.

"So the fact that they did that, lets you know what their plans are and Tottenham are on board with those plans."

Khan's offer to buy Wembley did not include any formal suggestion that the Jaguars would become its permanent tenants, but Umenyiora believes the sale would have hastened the arrival of a London franchise.

"It would have made things easier," said the 36-year-old, who is also a regular pundit on the BBC's NFL Show. "I can't say anything for certain because I don't know what Shahid's business plans are but I think it would have made sense.

"Obviously, the FA weren't really thrilled about that, they weren't happy about it and it didn't go through. But if it would have went through, I think that would have been incredible, and I think we would've seen a franchise here, probably sooner."

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