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Spurs target a superstar

HARRY Redknapp has set his sights on signing a world-class player as Tottenham Hotspur prepare for next season's Champions League.

His squad compares favourably with that of the Premier League heavyweights, without having a player that could be regarded among the best in his position.

Ledley King, the England defender, would be an exception if not blighted by a knee injury, but Redknapp wants to lure a player of the calibre of Fernando Torres in the summer.

"I would not lose any sleep if we don't do anything," Redknapp said. "But if we can find a special player that would make a difference to this team, I would say (it) to the chairman or owner. It might only be one player, an expensive player. Like Liverpool signed Torres, (we want) a player that could take us to another level. But where you find them, I don't know."

Joe Cole cannot be put in that category, although the Chelsea midfield player, who has been linked with Spurs, would be appealing because he would be a free transfer. Edin Dzeko, the Wolfsburg striker, may figure with the futures of Robbie Keane and Roman Pavlyuchenko in question.

"I've never discussed Joe. There was every chance he'd want to stay," said Redknapp, who also denied that he was being paid a bonus for finishing in the top four.

Redknapp was full of praise for his defender King as he is amazed how the centre-back, who is likely to be included in Fabio Capello's squad for South Africa, can churn out such displays in his circumstances, with a persistent knee injury.

"How a lad can not train but come out and play against top players as he has, I don't know," he said.

"It's defied all logic, it's amazing. If that's the way to do it, we're wasting our time coming into training every day -- we might as well all just turn up on Saturday! He's a freak really, how he can do that."

For their part, Manchester City are also looking towards next season after Roberto Mancini claimed to have emerged victorious from his power struggle with the club's players.

The City manager was publicly criticised by Carlos Tevez last month over his insistence on double training sessions, but the Italian has told his players to expect an even tougher regime next season as the club go in search of the Premier League title. Mancini held talks with Tevez on Thursday and is confident he has the full support of the Argentina striker.

"I think so," Mancini said when asked if the players had come round to his way of thinking. "For the first 15 days I think it was difficult because I changed training, but I didn't change everything.

"I wanted to speak to Carlos because I wanted to know if he was happy to play here and happy to train two times a day. He told me he is very happy to play for Manchester City and wants to win things for Manchester City."

Sunderland are prepared to discard up to 11 players this summer, including Anton Ferdinand, the centre back, with Steve Bruce seeking to inject quality into his first-team squad at the expense of quantity.

Ferdinand would represent the most high-profile of the likely close-season departures from the Stadium of Light, while Bruce is also willing to dispense with Republic of Ireland duo Daryl Murphy and Roy O'Donovan, as well as Phil Bardsley, Marton Fulop, George McCartney, David Healy, Nyron Nosworthy and Teemu Tainio. Benjani Mwaruwari and John Mensah are set to return to their parent clubs.

Bruce expects to complete the free transfer of Paraguayan midfielder Cristian Riveros from Cruz Azul, over the next week. "We've been monitoring him for months and months and I've been aware of him for a couple of years," the manager said. "He's a bit different to what we've already got in the middle of the park."

David Meyler will be absent for up to a year after undergoing surgery yesterday on a cruciate knee ligament injury.