Arry looking for a ‘tweak’ in January
Harry Redknapp is planning to raid the January transfer market for the reinforcements he believes can inspire Tottenham to their first title for 50 years.
Spurs came back from two down to win 3-2 at Arsenal on Saturday and, with their rivals faltering, Redknapp admits they may never have a better chance to become champions of the Barclays Premier League.
The manager wants to ‘tweak’ his squad in January and is already exploring the possibility of loaning Karim Benzema from Real Madrid.
He will also test West Ham’s resolve with another bid for Scott Parker, chase a new central defender and he is prepared to offer Niko Kranjcar in part exchange for unsettled Liverpool full back Glen Johnson.
Any new recruits would have to be incorporated within the Premier League’s 25-man squad rule, so moving out players like Kranjcar, Robbie Keane and David Bentley is important.
West Ham still linked with Keane and Fulham are interested in Bentley.
‘I am looking to bring people in,’ said Redknapp.
‘We need to tweak it to finish it off. I think Tottenham have a championship in them in the next few years. Just because they haven’t for a while, it doesn’t mean that Chelsea, Man United, Arsenal or Liverpool will carry on winning it.
‘Why can’t someone else win it? It’s the most open season ever. When Sunderland can go to Chelsea and win, it shows you that anyone can beat anyone. Man City will eventually win the championship, I’m quite sure of that, but there’s no reason why Tottenham can’t be challenging.
‘I’ll even put myself under pressure by saying that. You’ve got top, top players here — Luka Modric, Rafael van der Vaart, Gareth Bale — and there’s no reason why we can’t go on and achieve something.’
Helping the club’s drive to the next level is a new winning mentality, which Redknapp attributes to the win at Manchester City to clinch a top-four finish at the end of last season.
‘It was a big step forward,’ said the manager, who tore into Gareth Bale at Arsenal for shaking hands with an opponent after a ‘diabolical’ foul.
‘I got the right hump with him. What are we, the nice guys or something? Let’s go out there and compete.’
Jermaine Jenas said that in more than five years at Spurs this was the first time he had travelled to the Emirates ‘believing we could win’.
The win over Inter Milan in the Champions League helped the psychological progress but the summer signings of Van der Vaart and William Gallas also had a significant impact. Although they are yet to appear at peak fitness, they have added knowhow to the team.
Gallas thrived amid the jeers at his former club, while Van der Vaart spent much of the game ambling around like the prime candidate to be substituted, yet had a hand in every Spurs goal.
The development of Modric and Bale means Tottenham suddenly boast players who are the envy of Europe’s biggest clubs, while their squad has genuine depth.
Jermain Defoe’s introduction at half-time swung the game. It was risky because it meant Van der Vaart dropped on to the right of midfield — where he provided no defensive cover — but it worked for Redknapp.
‘To Dare is to Do,’ as they say at Spurs. Champions? Maybe it isn’t such a crazy idea.