Tottenham focus turns to retaining star players Gareth Bale and Luka Modric following Harry Redknapp departure

 

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The Independent Online

Tottenham's biggest challenge this summer could be convincing their star men to stay and be part of a new chapter in the club's history following the departure of Harry Redknapp.

Despite finishing fourth in the Barclays Premier League, which ultimately was not enough for Champions League football after Chelsea's penalty shoot-out win in last month's final, the board yesterday sacked the 65-year-old, who had transformed their fortunes since taking charge in October 2008.

Spurs' board will take their time sounding out potential successors, with former Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas among the contenders, possibly working under a technical director.

However, it remains to be seen how many of Redknapp's squad will be involved for the new campaign, which is to include another venture into the second-tier Europa League.

Gareth Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett accepts not being in the Champions League is "a problem" for the Wales winger, but it would take a huge bid to prise the 22-year-old away from White Hart Lane.

Croatia playmaker Luka Modric, meanwhile, will be another frustrated at not being able to test himself against top-level European opposition next season, while Holland midfielder Rafael van der Vaart is said to be on the wanted list for German outfit Schalke, who finished third in the Bundesliga and so qualified straight into the group stages of the Champions League.

Speaking to the latest edition of German magazine Sport Bild, Modric accepted there would always be plenty of options if he was looking for a move.

"There are all sorts of rumours still circulating about me," said Modric, before the news of Redknapp's departure broke.

"I am not saying that the clubs are not interested, but I am still under contract with Tottenham."

Elsewhere, it has been reported players could be set for a battle with the club to secure bonuses for finishing in the top four, which did not in the end bring extra revenue from Champions League qualification.

Villas-Boas is a free agent having been dismissed by Chelsea earlier this season and so Tottenham would not have to pay any compensation were they to eventually appoint the 34-year-old.

Everton's David Moyes and Wigan boss Roberto Martinez have also been linked with the vacancy.

Former Spurs defender Chris Perry, 39, admitted the uncertainty was a worry.

He told TalkSPORT: "We have heard Modric might be leaving to go to Manchester United, obviously there have been rumours about Gareth Bale recently and Van der Vaart, and is he [Moyes] a big enough name internationally to keep these star players at Tottenham? I don't know.

"A Rafa Benitez might be a name that is good for the players to hear. He has obviously got a good track record, he won the Champions League with Liverpool."

Former Tottenham striker Jurgen Klinsmann is another potential candidate, having been a huge hit with supporters during two spells at White Hart Lane in the 1990s.

However, the 47-year-old's publicist Roland Eitel maintains the German coach is settled in the United States as he aims to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Reports in France, meanwhile, claim Les Bleus coach Laurent Blanc is another on the radar for Spurs chairman Daniel Levy.

PA

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