Tottenham V Wolverhampton at White Hart Lane : Match Preview
14 January 2012 10:36
Redknapp accepts Tottenham limitations
Tottenham's strict wage structure means the club will always struggle to hang on to their top players, according to manager Harry Redknapp.
His comments come as Spurs are enjoying arguably their best season since they lifted the league title 51 years ago.
The Londoners will go joint top of the Barclays Premier League on Saturday if they beat Wolves at home after putting pressure on favourites Manchester City, and rivals United, with a 2-0 win over Everton on Wednesday.
Roberto Mancini's men will have the chance to pull clear of the chasing pack again at Wigan on Monday but a run of one defeat in their last 18 matches has left few doubting that Redknapp's squad have a real chance of challenging the Manchester duo for their first title since 1961.
But regardless of his team's ability to match the top clubs on the pitch, off it Redknapp concedes the likes of City, United and Chelsea are in a different league.
Spurs had to fight hard to fend off Chelsea's interest in Luka Modric last summer - when the Blues reportedly offered to triple the Croatian's wages - and Redknapp admits money, and not glory, is the prime motivation behind any top-flight footballer's thinking nowadays.
"Players play for a club and they enjoy being there but if someone comes along and offers them a contract that could blow their current one out of the water, then you've got a problem," Redknapp said.
"I'd be talking rubbish if I said people wanted to stay at Tottenham just because we're playing good football. I'd be dreaming. If you want to keep the best players, we have to find a way of doing a deal that's near to what they can earn elsewhere, otherwise it will be a problem.
"If you're a top player and someone wants to give you a fantastic contract, it's very hard to hang on to them."
Spurs can breathe relatively easy for the rest of the season about Modric after Andre Villas-Boas confirmed he would not renew his interest in Modric this month.
But with the Croatian, Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart all receiving rave reviews for their performances this term, the summer could prove the ultimate test of Spurs' ambitions of being regular title challengers.
Despite accepting it is part of the modern game, Redknapp laments players' desire to prioritise money over loyalty and another aspect of the game which he dislikes is the role of agents.
The Spurs boss has revealed a representative of Jermain Defoe, who is not first-choice despite being the club's top scorer, has been complaining about his client's lack of game time.
He said: "Jermain Defoe changes his agent and the new one is ringing up saying `He's not playing. this club want him, that club want him'.
"That's how they make their money. By getting them a new contract somewhere. They take their cut and that's how it all works."
Midfielder Scott Parker (knee) remains a doubt for the clash with Wolves.
Defender Ledley King (hamstring) is not fit, Aaron Lennon could be rested as part of his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury while defender William Gallas and midfielder Sandro are out with calf strains.
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy believes Tottenham can end the Manchester United-Chelsea-Arsenal stranglehold on the title this season.
Blackburn were the last side outside the Red Devils, Blues or Gunners to win the league in 1996.
McCarthy said: "Spurs are genuine title contenders. People say it's all about 'can you believe you can win it' when you get to the last six games.
"But they've got great players and I'm sure Harry Redknapp will be trying to add to that this window, also keeping everyone fit and making sure they all stay on the pitch.
"If they do, then, yes, they are a genuine contender for the title and it would be refreshing for someone else to win it.
"It would be a good thing and it does all get a bit boring when the Premier League is won by one, two or three teams and no-one else gets a sniff outside of those teams.
"It might put a bit of pressure on Harry on whether he wants that England job or not if he wins the league!
"But they are a fantastic side and as good as anyone in the top three or four."
Midfielder Nenad Milijas is available after completing a three-match ban.
Skipper Roger Johnson is expected to recover from the ankle knock which forced him to be substituted during the FA Cup third-round draw at Birmingham last weekend.
Midfielder Dave Edwards should also be available again after recovering from tightness in his groin.
Former captain Karl Henry will make his 200th league appearance for Wolves if selected.