Harry chasing top-class pair

May 16, 2011

Harry Redknapp says he has to find a couple of top-quality signings if Spurs are to challenge for the Champions League next season.

A 2-0 win at Liverpool on Sunday put them in pole position for the final Europa League place but that is little consolation after their exploits on their debut among Europe's elite earlier in the campaign.

Spurs' thrilling run to the Champions League quarter-finals, beating the likes of Italian powerhouses AC and Inter Milan and Germany's Werder Bremen, gave the squad a taste of the big time.

But Redknapp, who feels his side's top-four challenge faltered because of fatigue, knows it will be an even more difficult task to regain their Champions League place.


"There are six teams (challenging) for that top four," he said.

"Manchester United are certainties, Chelsea are certainties and you have to fancy Man City next year as they are going to spend another £100million.

"You also have to fancy Arsenal, because they have been there every year, and Liverpool are a great club with great tradition and they will be back stronger with Kenny (Dalglish) next year.

"We could have improved (the squad) in January. It wasn't a case of spending, we just needed a little tweak to liven us up a bit because we had a few tired players around.

"We then lost key players: (Gareth) Bale was flying at the time and winning games for us but we weren't scoring while Rafa (van der Vaart), who had been looking like a £50million player all season, tired in the last six or seven weeks and that was important for us.

"Hopefully we can get one or two players in the summer and improve again for next year because it is going to be hard.

"We have a big squad but what we need is one or two players who will make the difference to us.

"Liverpool have done that with Luis Suarez, he is going to be a big player, and we need to find one or two to keep us pushing for the top four."

While the priority will be looking for new arrivals, Redknapp knows he has some big decisions to make in terms of what happens with a number of his squad who have failed to come up to scratch this season.

None of this three strikers - Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe or Roman Pavlyuchenko - have impressed while he has found things stretched at the back because of injuries.

Defence is an area which may require significant work as injury-prone centre-back Jonathan Woodgate appears destined to leave when his contract expires next month, having played just four times in the last two seasons.

Ledley King's appearance at Liverpool was his first since mid-October and while he still has 12 months left on his current deal, a long-term knee problem regularly restricts his involvement.

"We have some players to shift now, we have players on loan who will be coming back and I'm looking for a good frontman if I can find one," added Redknapp.

"I went to the cup final in France on Saturday night and I'm going to go abroad two or three times this week and keep following up leads and see what we come up with.

"It's very difficult finding better than what you've already got.

"This is Jonathan's last year. He hasn't played for two years and I have to speak to Jonathan but it is going to be difficult.

"Ledley has got another year. The problem for him is he has a chronic knee injury but it is not the knee which has been the problem - although it stops him training - it's been a groin injury.

"Now it is whether he has an operation or whether we try to nurse him - I don't know what the answer is going to be."

King has been frustrated by his long spell on the sideline but hopes the groin problem, at least, is now behind him.

"It has been tough but sadly it's something I've got used to over the last three or four years, when I've had spells out," he told the London Evening Standard.

"My focus has always been on trying to get back as quickly as possible.

"I was going to have an operation but it's been one of those where I wasn't quite sure if I needed one, so I was putting it off.

"Hopefully that decision has paid off. We had to figure out if it was worth taking the risk by playing against Liverpool but I got through the game and hopefully there will be no ill effects.

"Different injury problems happen. Some are because of the knee and because I'm not able to train regularly, but this one was a totally different injury and I was confident I would always come back from it."