Thursday 18 January 2018

Redknapp left to count cost as Chelsea success hits transfer plans

Jeremy Wilson

There are only 11 miles separating Stamford Bridge and White Hart Lane but there was an unmistakable chasm on Saturday night in the respective mood at the two clubs.

While there was joy unconfined at Chelsea for the historic achievement of a first European Cup, Tottenham are facing up to the grim reality that finishing fourth in the Premier League will not now be rewarded by Champions League football.

The fallout promises to be considerable, not only in the loss of around £30m in revenue but also in their ambitions for this crucial summer transfer window.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp has already stressed that he will not be "screwed up" by Chelsea taking England's fourth Champions League place, but there is a strong possibility that his planning will be.

The club have been bold in targeting players such as Lille's Eden Hazard but are now expected to move to a rather different bracket of player, with Blackburn's Junior Hoillet and Fulham's Moussa Dembele among their options.

They still hope to do a deal for Ajax centre-back Jan Vertonghen but Arsenal retain an interest and can offer the certainty of Champions League football next season.

Exodus

The biggest danger for Tottenham, however, is with the existing squad amid the threat of summer unrest and even an exodus of key players.

Winger Gareth Bale remains of interest to Barcelona and has already said that he would want to discuss his future if Spurs are not in the Champions League.

Chelsea are likely to revive their interest in Luka Modric although Real Madrid have also emerged as a plausible option for the midfielder.

Likewise, Benoit Assou-Ekotto has suggested that he would expect Tottenham to consider an offer for him from a leading club.

Assou-Ekotto's thoughts on the prospect of another season in the Europa League were summed up by the defender's recent description of the competition as "useless".

With his wage expectations in the absence of Champions League income, striker Emmanuel Adebayor is another whose future could be influenced by Chelsea's penalty shoot-out win on Saturday.

Redknapp has repeatedly stated that Spurs must again improve the squad this summer and, despite ultimately failing in the target of Champions League qualification, is adamant that the season should be regarded as a success.

"I wanted to finish in the top four with Tottenham and I think it was a fantastic achievement," said Redknapp. "We couldn't do any more. We finished above Chelsea, above Liverpool and getting in those top four positions is getting more and more difficult."

Staying still will now be an achievement in itself for Tottenham. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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