The Tottenham Hotspur chairman Daniel Levy made clear the scale of Harry Redknapp's task in keeping the club in the Premier League when he said yesterday that the new manager would not be able to spend big in January. Levy, whose club revealed they had made a £16.4m profit in the transfer market for the last financial year, said that Redknapp would have to work with the players he has got.
Levy did not rule out the possibility that Redknapp may have to sell first to buy players in January, but he virtually ruled out the possibility of the manager going back to Portsmouth to poach Lassana Diarra, Glen Johnson and Jermain Defoe. Money for new signings is understood to be extremely limited even though the financial results released yesterday were up to June and did not include the sale of Dimitar Berbatov and Robbie Keane.
Levy, who also announced plans for a new 60,000-capacity stadium near White Hart Lane, said that Redknapp had agreed to work with the players already at the club. "Harry is aware that he has come into a situation where we have a group of international players who we believe are very talented," he said. "So does he, and that is now coming to fruition. As far as January is concerned, I think you'll see limited changes."
Pressed on whether he would be backing his new manager immediately, after almost £50m of investment in Luka Modric, David Bentley and Roman Pavlyuchenko alone, Levy said: "We don't expect major changes in January."
In a wide-ranging interview to mark the release of Spurs' financial results, Levy admitted that Juande Ramos's relationship with the players had broken down to the extent that he was forced to "do something drastic" at the end of last week and sack the Spanish coach. Having also dismissed the director of football, Damien Comolli, Levy said that he still believed the continental-style system could work at Spurs if he found the right "quality of people".
After the remarkable comeback against Arsenal to draw 4-4 on Wednesday night at the Emirates, Levy said that he had been forced to act quickly once he realised the seriousness of the situation after the defeat to Udinese in Italy in the Uefa Cup. He denied that he had taken the decision in conjunction with his friends Sir Philip Green, the retail tycoon, or former vice-chairman Paul Kemsley. "They didn't even know about it [the decision to sack Ramos]," he said.
Asked why it had not worked out for Spurs under Ramos, who had won the Uefa Cup twice in succession with Seville, Levy said: "It's quite hard to explain, I wanted Juande to succeed. He is an absolute gentleman, I do think he is a good coach, for one reason or another, it hasn't quite worked out for him.
"If you look back since the Carling Cup, the record has not been great, in terms of Premier League games [under Ramos they won just three after then] and I just think it reached a point where I had to do something drastic, unexpected, because I know we have a group of very talented players, and we had to make a change and do it quickly and clearly in the last two games. All of a sudden we are scoring goals. I can't believe it's the same set of players."
With revenue up to £114.8m and £44m already spent or committed to their new stadium project, Levy could again point to a healthy set of finances. However, he dismissed the notion that he was purely interested in turning a financial profit with a view to selling the club. "The answer is: you cannot have healthy financial figures unless you have success on the pitch," he said. "If you don't get success on the pitch right, trust me, you don't have healthy financial figures."
Trading up: Spurs' stadium plan
* Tottenham's prospective new stadium would hold 60,000, almost double the 36,244 capacity of current home White Hart Lane – where there is a 22,000-long waiting list for season tickets. The project also includes plans for a museum, a number of homes and shops and a base for the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation.
* The club will host an exhibition next month, where the public can view the proposed plans. The plans should mean the club not needing to move from their home of 109 years while any building work is undertaken.