Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, believes his club's determination to hold on to their best players illustrates how they are closing the gap between themselves and Manchester United.
Redknapp's team travel to Old Trafford today and face a United squad including Dimitar Berbatov and Michael Carrick, two players central to Tottenham's plans before they were sold to United.
Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart are players catching the eye under Redknapp, but he has insisted the club is no longer a vehicle for players to showcase their talent and progress their careers elsewhere.
"The chairman doesn't want to sell players that we don't want to sell any more," said Redknapp. "I've spoken to him and we're looking to improve. You wouldn't see Manchester United selling. They sold [Cristiano] Ronaldo in the end because they got £80m and he wanted to go to Spain. We want to keep our best players and build around them and keep improving."
Redknapp also feels Spurs are beginning to rival United following improvements in his squad and Sir Alex Ferguson's key players coming towards the end of their careers. Carrick and Berbatov bolstered a United squad with veterans such as Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville still holding important roles, although focus is now shifting on how long their playing careers will last.
"He [Ferguson] has had so many great players, and built so many great teams, but they can't go on for ever," Redknapp said. "Giggs, Scholes, Neville have all been unbelievable players for United, and as good as they are, they are not going to get any better now, are they?"
Spurs are looking for their first win at Old Trafford since 1989, with Redknapp joking: "I wouldn't take the blame for what happened in '89 or '90 or all those other years. And it's different players here now. They wouldn't know about that record."