Harry Redknapp has admitted that Tottenham will find it harder to wrest the title from Chelsea and challenge for a top-four place after falling behind their rivals in the January transfer window.
The Spurs manager was frustrated by the late timing of an approach for Blackpool's Charlie Adam, while the club had a bid for Everton captain Phil Neville rejected and missed out on other high-profile targets.
Redknapp revealed that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy bid £35m for Villarreal striker Giuseppe Rossi, but claimed the Spaniards did not want to sell, while Diego Forlan's £140,000-a-week wages proved prohibitive.
But he was frustrated to learn that, with just 20 minutes remaining of the deadline, a substantial offer was made for Adam, though it came too late to be completed.
Everton manager David Moyes described Spurs' offer for Neville, believed to be £250,000, as "insulting" and the most extraordinary he had known in his managerial career. A second offer of £500,000 was also rejected.
Redknapp admitted: "I don't blame David for not letting Phil Neville go. It was a pretty low offer for a good player.
"It's hard to get top players unless you pay top money but the players we tried for, the Rossis of this world, the clubs wouldn't sell them. The chairman wanted to bring somebody in. If Villarreal would have sold Rossi he'd have done it. I think he offered £35m, but they wouldn't take it."
Redknapp, meanwhile, could give a surprise start at Blackburn Rovers tonight to Jonathan Woodgate, with Michael Dawson banned and Ledley King set for an operation today. (© Daily Telegraph, London)