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Harry Redknapp slams Birmingham over Robbie Keane deal

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has slammed Birmingham over their conduct during Robbie Keane's failed transfer to St Andrew's.

Spurs accepted Blues' £6million bid for Keane last week before the Midlands outfit pulled the plug on the deal, claiming in a statement from acting chairman Peter Pannu that the striker's wage demands were out of their reach.

Keane, 30, denied those claims earlier this week, suggesting that Birmingham had made such an assertion as part of a publicity stunt.

And Redknapp backed Keane's stance today, insisting that it was "unfair" of Birmingham to make such a claim about the want-away striker.

"There was never a deal with Birmingham," said Redknapp, who is willing to let the striker leave White Hart Lane this month.

"He never asked Birmingham for money.

"He never got around to discussing a deal with them so when they said they couldn't meet his wage demands that was totally unfair on Robbie because he never made any demands. He never even spoke to them.

"I don't see how the deal could've fallen down on wage demands when he didn't make any. That's a strange one."

Redknapp completed a major transfer coup on Tuesday when Steven Pienaar opted to join Spurs over Barclays Premier League champions Chelsea.

The versatile midfielder, who excelled during time at Everton, has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract for a transfer fee thought to be between £2million and £3million.

Pienaar will travel to Newcastle with his new team-mates today and could make his debut at St. James' Park.

But with the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Lennon, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart already cemented in their positions in the team, Redknapp admits Pienaar has a fight on his hands to earn a first-team spot.

"I couldn't sit here and say he will take someone's place. There is competition for all places," Redknapp said.

"He can play in several positions across midfield. He keeps the ball and he'll enjoy playing in our team.

"He and (Leighton) Baines were fantastic down the left at Everton.

"We have Gareth Bale who plays wide left so it's a difficult position to get into. Aaron (Lennon) has done great as well.

"They have all been doing great so he has to work hard to get into the team."

A number of Spurs players could leave the club this month to make way for new arrivals.

Striker Keane, Jamie O'Hara, Giovani dos Santos, Niko Kranjcar and Vedran Corluka could depart while Roman Pavlyuchenko and Peter Crouch have both been touted as potential replacements for Darren Bent at Sunderland.

The Russian has made 15 starts in all competitions and Redknapp does not think he will be leaving.

"I know Steve (Bruce) is looking for a replacement, but I doubt it very much," the 63-year-old said.

Villarreal's Giuseppe Rossi and FC Porto striker Hulk have been linked with Tottenham but Redknapp insists a deal to sign either of the two strikers will not be possible.

Redknapp said: "Rossi? He's a good player but he's not available. Incredible Hulk? No. Not going to happen. I couldn't say we're close to doing anything with anyone."

Redknapp's side have lost just once in their last 14 games and will leapfrog Chelsea into fourth with a win tomorrow.

The former Portsmouth boss knows that Spurs are now entering a crucial period of the season and predicts that the team's away form over the next few games will prove to be a true acid test of their title credentials.

"We have to keep hanging in there with our performances away from home or else we'll find ourselves falling away from the pack," Redknapp said.

"If we can get through the away games it will put us in good shape."

Spurs came out on top in a feisty 2-0 victory over Newcastle last month and Redknapp admits he is expecting a strong test from the Magpies.

"They have got some competitors there," Redknapp said.

"They have a few players who know how to win, like (Joey) Barton and (Kevin) Nolan."