Kranjcar seeks move off Spurs bench to Italy or Anfield

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The Independent Online

Niko Kranjcar has confirmed he is close to quitting Tottenham after again being frozen out of manager Harry Redknapp's plans. The Croatia midfielder last week revealed he would leave White Hart Lane if he was not handed more first-team opportunities.

The 26-year-old has played second fiddle to Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon this season, but an injury to the latter led to him starting his first match of the campaign in the 4-2 Premier League defeat at Bolton 12 days ago. However, he immediately lost his place to David Bentley and has not featured since issuing his threat, although he continues to insist he would prefer to stay at Spurs if his situation improves.

Kranjcar said: "Of course, I have to wait to see what Tottenham have to say, but as things stand, a transfer somewhere else is not that far away.

"I am not angry or too disappointed. I believe that things will improve at Spurs. But if not then I will look for a club where I can play week in and week out. I don't want to spend my years just sitting on the bench because I love this sport, which is why I'm unhappy when I'm not playing more regularly."

Kranjcar's father, Zlato, who is the manager of the Montenegro national team, claims his son has already made up his mind to leave. "Niko is definitely leaving Tottenham," he said last week. "That is his choice and I totally agree with him. There just isn't any sense in sitting on the bench all the time."

Zlato last week revealed his son's preferred destination was Italy but that a move to Liverpool was also a possibility. Kranjcar is under contract at White Hart Lane until 2013.

Meanwhile, Rafael van der Vaart believes Redknapp has been instrumental in helping him rediscover his best form after struggling under the strict regime of Jose Mourinho at Real Madrid.

Van der Vaart has quickly established himself as a goalscoring midfielder to be feared since his transfer deadline day move from Madrid to north London in the summer. The 27-year-oldNetherlands international has scored seven times for Spurs already and claims Redknapp's more relaxed approach has got the best out of him.

"Harry is a very special man, that's why I already feel at home at Spurs. It feels like I'm back on the street," he said. "There are no long and boring speeches about tactics, like I was used to at Real Madrid. There is a clipboard in our dressing room but Harry doesn't write anything on it.

"It's very relaxed. The gaffer gives us the line-up 20 minutes before we go out to do our warm-up."

Van der Vaart said that training sessions under Redknapp were also a low-key affair, claiming that their recent successes, such as the memorable win over Champions League holders Internazionale, were more about about team work than tactics. "It's not that we do nothing – but it's close to that," he added. "For instance, last weekend Gareth Bale scored a header against Blackburn from my corner. But we didn't train one minute on it, it was pure luck. Good kicking, good heading, nothing more. And our win at home over Champions League winners Inter was a clear example of playing on intuition. You can't train the goal I scored in that game."

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