Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has hinted that he would be willing to play Luka Modric in Thursday's Europa League game against Hearts - a move that could end Chelsea's pursuit of the player.
Modric is not in Tottenham's squad for tonight's Barclays Premier League opener against Manchester United after Redknapp revealed that the player had become unsettled by Chelsea's overtures.
The Blues are reported to have lodged a bid of £30million - their third offer of the summer - for the Croatian, who is determined to join Andre Villas-Boas' side despite Spurs' insistence that he is not for sale.
But Modric's absence from the Tottenham squad for tonight's match at Old Trafford does not mean the 25-year-old has played his last game for the club, Redknapp insisted this afternoon.
The Spurs boss has revealed that he is considering playing the Croatian in Thursday's Europa League playoff against Hearts, despite the English side taking a 5-0 lead into the second leg clash at White Hart Lane.
Playing Modric in that match would mean that he would not be eligible to play for Chelsea in the Champions League - something which could put the Blues off their pursuit of the player given the importance that owner Roman Abramovich places on that competition.
Nevertheless, Redknapp is determined to hand Modric his first start of the season soon.
"I don't think he's played his last game for us," Redknapp told Sky Sports News.
"I want him to play for us against Manchester City on Sunday, he's a good player and we need him out there for us. We've got Hearts on Thursday too and I'd love to get a game into him.
"I can see Chelsea continuing to chase Luka but we really want to keep him and we hope we can add one or two players to our squad to make us stronger."
Redknapp hopes to help persuade Modric to remain at White Hart Lane by bringing in at least two players who he thinks will aid the club's push for a Champions League place.
Spurs have been in talks with Manchester City over a loan deal for Emmanuel Adebayor and have also held negotiations with Real Madrid over the possible transfer of midfielder Lassana Diarra.
Any move depends on shifting on some of the squad players at White Hart Lane - something which chairman Daniel Levy has had trouble doing all summer - but Redknapp is confident that he will have two new arrivals soon.
"We're close to getting a couple in - Daniel (Levy) is very close," Redknapp added. "But we need to shift one or two because we've got a lot of players. We just need that extra bit of quality. But if you want top players they want top wages or they don't come to you.
"Adebayor is a difficult one.
"The chairman has been talking to City and I'm not sure where they're at. We're looking at a loan. He'd be a great signing for us."