Tottenham's Harry Redknapp Admits Desire For Joe Cole

Tottenham's Harry Redknapp admits desire to be reunited with Joe ColeHarry Redknapp's attempts to strengthen his Tottenham Hotspur squad ahead of the closure of the transfer window could prompt a surprise move for the unsettled Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole.

Lassana Diarra and Emmanuel Adebayor are on the verge of completing switches to White Hart Lane but Redknapp has also expressed a desire to sign Cole. TheEngland midfielder has endured a frustrating year on Merseyside, starting only nine Premier League games last term following a free transfer from Chelsea. Liverpool omitted the 29-year-old from their squad for Wednesday night's Carling Cup tie at Exeter City and indicated a willingness to allow him to depart, even on loan, to spare their wage bill. The player is keen to return to London and although QPR may offer an alternative destination, his preference is to be reunited with Redknapp at Spurs.

Cole is willing to accept a reduction in his salary – thought to be around £80,000-a-week – to smooth his departure from Anfield but it remains to be seen whether the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy, would share his manager's enthusiasm in pursuing the player. "I like Joe, and I am not going to say I don't want to sign him because I would be lying," said Redknapp. "I have not made any inquiries for Joe. It probably would be difficult because we tried to get him last year. It was not difficult for me but the chairman – well, he might think he didn't want to come here last year and he went to Liverpool."

Asked whether Cole would have to accept a reduction in wages to secure first-team football at Spurs, Redknapp said: "Yes, but I think he would have last time too. But we took our time making an offer and it all dragged on. In the end he probably felt he wasn't wanted enough. He is a real talent. I signed him when he was 11 [at West Ham] and he was the best young footballer I have ever seen – I have never seen anyone come near him – and I think I can get him back to where he was. I would love to work with him again."

Tottenham's activity in the market is steadily gathering pace with agreement edging closer with Real Madrid over the £10m transfer of Diarra, formerly with Arsenal and Chelsea and an FA Cup winner with Redknapp at Portsmouth. That would represent a knockdown fee as far as the Spanish club are concerned, with Real hopeful of including a sell-on fee in any deal before sanctioning the move. Diarra's salary, which amounts to some £120,000 a week, is in excess of the wage ceiling at White Hart Lane, though Levy is hoping to secure the player with a package of bonuses and a significant signing-on fee.

Adebayor's salary, too, had appeared a potential obstacle blocking his loan move from Manchester City, though Redknapp, whose side go into this evening's Europa League play-off against Hearts leading 5-0 from the away leg, indicated on Wednesday that the Togo forward will take a pay cut to return to north London, with City also paying a contribution. Spurs hope to complete the signing ahead of the weekend, though the striker would be ineligible for Sunday's visit of City to White Hart Lane.

"Emmanuel will give us something different," said Redknapp. "He has fantastic ability, and he had that spell at Arsenal when he was unplayable. He has had a spell where his reputation has gone down, so he needs to come in and have a right go. He has a big point to prove. But he's not coming for the money. He's taking a drop in salary because he fancies coming to Spurs."

Powered by article was written by Dominic Fifield, for The Guardian on Wednesday 24th August 2011 23.30 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010


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