Harry Redknapp would be willing to scrap his move for David Beckham if the Los Angeles Galaxy continue to demand the midfielder returns to the United States by mid-February.
Beckham started a month-long training spell at the north London club on Monday and is still hopeful he will turn out in a Tottenham shirt.
The Galaxy start the new MLS season on March 15 but want their star man back in LA shortly after his training spell with the club is scheduled to end on February 10.
Beckham is two weeks away from match fitness and would therefore only be able to play three matches if he had to return to LA after that date.
Redknapp would also have to discard one member of his 25-man squad to accommodate the midfielder if he intends to play him after January 31.
Redknapp sounded pessimistic about his chances of landing the former England captain yesterday, and admitted he started negotiations with the Galaxy hoping to agree a loan until the end of the Premier League season.
"If it was only until February 10 that would only be a month," said Redknapp, whose side take on leaders Manchester United tomorrow.
"To do that would be a waste of time because, by the time David got fit, it would be a couple of weeks and suddenly you'd be into February.
"I would have liked him to play, if he could have come to the end of the season it would have been great.
"I didn't know it was only going to be two months at best.
"When it was mentioned, I thought 'yeah, to the end of the season it would be good'.
"Then, suddenly two months becomes a month, and only if we got permission.
"By the time he's fit, just to throw him in for three or four games would be difficult."