Monday 11 December 2017

Redknapp bid for Bellamy may hinge on Spurs showing plastic bottle

Jason Burt in Berne

Harry Redknapp's view on the possibility of Craig Bellamy dropping into the Championship is equally appropriate to Tottenham's Champions League campaign, should they fail to progress through the play-offs.

"It would be a waste," the Spurs manager said when asked whether he thought Bellamy, whom he has long tried to sign, might join Cardiff, though he added that he believed it highly unlikely the move would happen.

Redknapp wants Bellamy at White Hart Lane and he knows that, if he manoeuvres Spurs through tonight's tie against Young Boys, runners-up in the Swiss League last season, and reaches the riches of the group stages, it might give him the opportunity to finally acquire him.

But he would have to convince Manchester City to sell to such a close rival -- and would also have to sell one of his other four strikers, most likely Robbie Keane.

"Someone should try to buy him," Redknapp said of Bellamy, who will be left to train with City's reserves if he returns to the club today after training with Cardiff yesterday.

"With no disrespect to Cardiff, he should be playing top Premier League football. It would be a waste of an outstanding player. Someone is going to have to buy him unless Man City decide to loan him to someone like Fulham. I can't see them loaning him to us."

There was the expected, and accurate, declaration from Redknapp that the squad he has assembled at Spurs is strong enough to compete, but also an admission that chairman Daniel Levy "may look at" strengthening it.

"It's not easy because I've got four strikers and what would I do with five?" he said with the clear inference that Keane, Roman Pavlyuchenko or Peter Crouch would have to be moved on. But that would be to jump ahead.

Before flashing the plastic, Spurs must negotiate the plastic. They will take to an artificial surface tonight, but the rewards are all too real.

The Champions League music played out over the tannoys -- in rehearsal -- as Redknapp and Michael Dawson spoke, and it was an overture to glory nights and a £20m payday.

"We have a great chance. The pitch will suit us, the way we pass the ball. It looks like a good surface," Redknapp said, before adding that it was better than the hard, unforgiving plastic pitches of old. "It's much better than QPR's used to be many years ago!"

However, there was also a very clear warning -- Young Boys beat Champions League regulars Fenerbahce in the previous round.

"I looked at the video and they absolutely battered them at home, they could have beaten them six. They played ever so well," Redknapp added.

"It shows they have a lot to offer. I also spoke to Roy Hodgson and he said it will be a really difficult game on AstroTurf (the surface is actually a new generation of artificial pitch called Football Turf). They know how to win on it." Redknapp promised that Spurs would not play for a draw, adding: "We cannot sit back. We have attacking players.

"Look at last Saturday (against City). You have little (Luka) Modric there with Tom (Huddlestone) against a big monster in (Yaya) Toure who is on about £220,000 a week and he's 6ft 4in.

"We went with a footballing team, an attacking team, with (Gareth) Bale wide one side and (Aaron) Lennon on the other."

Redknapp has yet to decide whether to go with the same line-up -- bar Ledley King, who has not travelled as his knees could not be risked on the surface. Spurs certainly have options as they face their first tie in this competition in 48 years. It has been some wait.

"That's what we want to bring back," Redknapp added. "Great European nights." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

BSC Young Boys (probable; 4-1-3-1-1) -- Wolfli; Sutter, Affolter, Jemal, Raimondi; Spycher; Degen, Doubai, Lulic; Costanzo; Bienvenu.

Tottenham (probable; 4-4-2) -- Gomes; Corluka, Dawson, Bassong, Assou-Ekotto; Kranjcar, Huddlestone, Modric, Bale; Defoe, Crouch.

Ref -- F De Bleeckere (Belgium).

Young Boys v Tottenham Hotspur,

Live, TV3 and Sky Sports 2, 7.45

Irish Independent

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