They don’t call him wheeler-dealer ‘Arry for nothing but this summer Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has struggled in the transfer market. The East Londoner usually takes to his summer transfer dealings like a duck to water but the 63-year-old has been left frustrated by the club’s inability to secure the signatures of his main transfer targets before the start of the season.
Following last season’s fourth placed finish many fans had expected Spurs to spend, spend, spend in a bid to consolidate their Champions League position and to stay in touch with their rivals at the top. Yet so far the North Londoners have only secured the signature of long-term target Sandro from Internacional for a £6m fee. Redknapp hinted in July that he wanted the club to move quickly in the transfer market saying:
“I think we need to bring in three real quality players that can push us on.
“This is a chance that Tottenham really shouldn’t waste. We have got ourselves into our best position since the Premier League first started, and we have to build on that.
“We now have to move forward and not take a step back and sit and look at what we’ve done.”
While this was seen as a hint to the club’s owner Daniel Levy to loosen the purse strings, Redknapp himself has also come under criticism for his actions in the transfer market. The former Portsmouth manager’s approach for West Ham captain Scott Parker has caused a major rift between the two London rivals, with Hammers accusing Spurs of tapping up their midfield general and vice-chairman Karren Brady blasting:
“Harry Redknapp has introduced something into the transfer market I call Harry’s Law.
“It goes: ‘Do what I like, when I like, with whom I like.”
It seems that Redknapp’s famed charm might be wearing off after also missing out on Joe Cole who signed for Liverpool. He is also ready to admit defeat in the pursuit of Man City star Craig Bellamy, who looks set to sign for either Cardiff or Fulham. Redknapp however has other ideas on why he hasn’t been able to sign the players he would like, claiming clubs don’t want to sell players to Tottenham following their success last term.
“There’s not been a lack of backing. The chairman’s done everything possible, but the clubs just suddenly don’t want to let the couple of players go that we thought they might well do,” confirmed the Spurs boss.
While Redknapp’s latest comments will defuse any potential row with Levy over transfer targets, the Spurs manager has opened up another can of worms by hinting at other clubs refusal to sell. City certainly wouldn’t entertain the thought of Bellamy heading to the club that beat them to the remaining Champions League spot last year. And Redknapp cannot expect West Ham to react positively to his approaches for their star man Parker. Tottenham also look set to miss out on targets Luis Fabiano and Diego Forlan. Spurs seem to be unwilling to match either players’ wage demands or their respective clubs’ asking price which effectively has priced the club out of a move. Levy does not want to break the club’s wage structure but he may be forced to if he wants to land Redknapp’s ‘three quality players’ over the next two weeks.
Redknapp has a reputation throughout his career of doing cut price deals while managing lower league and mid-table sides. It is generally easier to pick up players unwanted by bigger clubs than securing the signing of a club’s biggest asset. When you are attempting to do transfer deals for players that clubs don’t want to let go then you have to be prepared for long, drawn-out negotiations and have a plan B in place should a club refuse to sell.
While Redknapp may have thought he knew the ins and outs of the transfer market, he will have learnt a few lessons this summer. Last season’s success has increased the club’s stature and reputation and they may have to break the bank in order to land Europe’s top players ahead of their European excursion. Spurs will now have to move quickly over the next two weeks to ensure they don’t miss the opportunity to progress on the back of last year’s wonder season.