Hands off Modric, warns Harry

Tottenham managed to hold on to Modric this summer despite

receiving at least three offers for the Croatian, the biggest

reported to have been £40million. Despite pleading to move to

Stamford Bridge, Modric remained at White Hart Lane, and he has

since gone on to play a big part in helping the club go on the

11-match unbeaten run which has catapulted them to third in the

Premier League. Reports have suggested that Chelsea will renew

their interest in the 26-year-old when the transfer window opens

next month as they attempt to kickstart their title challenge,

while Modric’s creativity would give United the edge that they

currently lack in midfield. Redknapp is currently busy formulating

an unlikely title bid of his own, however, and he does not want to

undermine it by losing such a key player as Modric, or any of his

other stars. “We won’t be selling our best players or anyone we

want to keep in January,” Redknapp said. “We are keeping our best

players and if anything we will be adding to the squad not selling.

“That’s the message from me and the chairman [Daniel Levy]. We

won’t be weakening this squad. “If one or two positions open up

where fringe players want to go then we will look at that but we

are not going to sell our best players or anyone we want to keep.”

Redknapp’s admission that he could be willing to let a couple of

fringe players go is likely to fuel speculation over the likes of

Roman Pavlyuchenko, Heurelho Gomes and Sebastien Bassong. All three

want to leave to get more first-team football, and Redknapp has

been linked with a number of replacements already. The Spurs boss

would not rule out bids for Bolton defender Gary Cahill or

Chelsea’s transfer-listed duo Nicolas Anelka and Alex on Friday.

“Alex is good player but he is not a player who we have made

enquiries for,” Redknapp said. “I’ve always been a big fan of Gary

Cahill. I have tried to sign him a few times. He is a good signing

for somebody if he leaves. “Anelka is a good player as well. All

three are good players. I wouldn’t sit here and say I wouldn’t be

interested in any of them. “It depends on what happens here.”

Tottenham are just two points behind second-place United, who have

played one more game than their north London rivals. The Red

Devils, and leaders Manchester City, both suffered embarrassing

exits from the Champions League this week and will now take part in

the knockout stages of the Europa League. Redknapp has never hid

his dislike of the Europa League and on Friday criticised the

format of the competition. “How can you get knocked out of the

Champions League and drop in to the Europa League?” Redknapp said.

“If you are knocked out, you are knocked out. What are you doing

going in to another competition? “If you get knocked out the FA

Cup, you don’t go in to the semi-final of the Carling Cup do you?

“It’s unbelievable. I don’t understand it.” Redknapp knows the

difficulties of playing in the Europa League having watched his

second string struggle in the competition. Defeats to PAOK Salonika

and Rubin Kazan – a side based 450 miles east of Moscow – have left

them with only a slender chance of qualification to the knockout

stages with one game remaining. Despite it handing him a good

opportunity to give some of his reserves valuable game time,

Redknapp feels City and United will find it hard to get to grips

with the Europa League. “It just messes the whole week up really,”

he said. “Your whole week is upside down. You play Thursday night,

you come back Friday and you play on Sunday. It’s just not the way

to prepare for a game. “Half the teams play their reserves and you

are going off all around the world to play. It’s not ideal. “It is

almost a punishment for them (United and City).”