Tottenham rule out big buys during financial crisis

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The Independent Football

Harry Redknapp will need all his wheeling and dealing skills in next month's mid-season transfer window after Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy yesterday appeared to rule out any immediate big-name acquisitions.

Addressing shareholders at a packed annual general meeting at White Hart Lane, Levy said it was too great a risk in the current economic climate to spend big at this stage of the campaign.

Spurs have been linked with a series of high-profile players including Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing and even the possible return of Robbie Keane who has been given limited opportunities since moving to Liverpool, his boyhood club, for £20m.

But Levy said: "I don't envisage any major transactions in or out of the club during January when the financial world is falling apart. We have to exercise caution though we will keep an open mind. The challenge is to maximise the potential of the squad."

Levy's remarks came just moments before Redknapp, who received prolonged applause for turning the fortunes of the club around since replacing Juande Ramos, gave a realistic assessment of the playing staff. "It depends where you want to finish," he said. "If you are talking about getting into the top five or the top four, the squad is well, well short of that. I cannot tell lies and say otherwise.

"The squad is still well short of challenging for a place in the top four. We are not as good as Aston Villa or one or two other teams, so there is a lot of work to be done to get where we should be." Redknapp is nevertheless determined to steer Spurs into the Champions League before he bows out. "This is a proper football club and we need a proper team to take you where you want to go. Then I can bail out in a few years' time and leave you in the top four."