Tottenham's embattled goalkeeper Paul Robinson has demanded to leave White Hart Lane and has been told by the club he can go after being dropped by Juande Ramos. Robinson's request came on Thursday, less than 24 hours after he was left out of the team to face Arsenal in the Carling Cup on Wednesday night.
The England international is expected to be able to leave for around £5m, although there is no obvious contender for him at the top of the Premier League. It was widely thought that it would be Spurs who would force Robinson out of the door, but the player contacted the club and expressed his wish to leave. The 28-year-old is two and a half years into a seven-year contract with the club.
Before the game against Arsenal, Robinson was so aggrieved not to be picked that he refused to come out for the goalkeepers' warm-up with Radek Cerny.
Robinson is not expected to play against Chelsea today, although that cannot be said with complete certainty because Ramos has now taken to naming his starting XI an hour before kick-off. However, considering the fallout between Ramos and Robinson before Wednesday's game, and the subsequent transfer request, the likelihood is that Cerny will continue in goal for Tottenham.
The speed with which Robinson's relationship with Ramos has disintegrated has taken everyone at the club by surprise. Within football circles the fact that Tottenham have been on the lookout for a new goalkeeper since Ramos arrived has been an serious competition for his place. However, Robinson's latest move indicates that he has taken Ramos' decision to leave him out against Arsenal very badly. The club will even consider a bid for Robinson this month, which demonstrates just how certain the player himself is that he wants to leave.
Maarten Stekelenburg of Ajax, Timo Hildebrand of Valencia and Bolton's Jussi Jaaskelainen have all been mentioned as possible replacements, but Tottenham are not thought to be that far down the road with any new deal.
The latest development caps a miserable 15 months for Robinson, whose most recent mistake was stepping back into his goal with the ball against Reading in the FA Cup last weekend. That was just the latest in a series of misjudgements that have blighted his career since Gary Neville's infamous back pass bobbled over his foot in the England Euro 2008 qualifying defeat to Croatia in Zagreb in October 2006.
Manchester City would have been the most obvious leading contender for Robinson's signature, but they are yet to show a concrete interest. Sven Goran Eriksson, their manager, is a fan and City's current No 1 is the 20-year-old Joe Hart. While Robinson wants to leave this month, he may be short of suitors in the short term.
Speaking after the draw with Arsenal on Wednesday night, Ramos would not go into details on his relationship with Robinson. The pair exchanged angry words in the hours before the game when Robinson learnt late on that he would not be in the team for the Carling Cup semi-final first leg.
As far as the Chelsea game went, Ramos promised not to "park the bus" in front of the Spurs goal as Jose Mourinho once accused his predecessor, Martin Jol, of doing. "How did they allow a bus into the ground? I think it's illegal," Ramos said. "Every manager and team has its own style. What we have to do is analyse the team we're playing and select the tactics to win the game. Little by little they are beginning to understand the way I want them to play and we're getting some results from that. Our results are pretty much in line with our play.
"We're looking for a good style because it is the type of football that leads to victories. What we are managing to do is combine attractive football with solid play and this is what will lead us to better results.
"We are improving little by little. Before we were in a very low position in the league but we are beginning to regain confidence so as to be able to compete on the same level as the bigger teams."