Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, declared yesterday that Emmanuel Adebayor's incendiary effect on Arsenal fans was one of the reasons why he wants him on loan at White Hart Lane, though Manchester City's reluctance to continue paying more than 10 per cent of the striker's salary means the move may be a hard-fought one.
City, who were very close to signing Arsenal's Samir Nasri last night, are expecting discussions with the Tottenham chairman, Daniel Levy, to go to the wire and will be reluctant to continue paying any more than the striker's image rights – 10 per cent of his wages – if he leaves. City's strategy has been to get unwanted players off their books this summer, rather than send them on loan, but there are no other takers for Adebayor.
Redknapp yesterday revealed his desire to take the 27-year-old. "Arsenal fans hate him so Tottenham fans will love him," he said. "He's got an advantage by upsetting them. He'll be a hero. If he comes and his head's on, he can be fantastic. It's a loan deal anyway, so you can't go wrong. He was fantastic against us for Real Madrid [last season], we couldn't handle him. If he's at it and really wants to play then he could be sensational."
Redknapp, whose side start their campaign tonight with a Europa League trip to Hearts, revealed an intriguing personal attachment between himself and Adebayor, dating back to his support for the striker after he controversially taunted Arsenal fans who had subjected him to abuse at City's ground in September 2009. "He rang me after I stuck up for him," Redknapp said. "I said he shouldn't have run to the fans but they were giving him almighty abuse all game. What are you supposed to do? You stick it up them, which is what he did."
City, who are willing to allow young Belgian defender Dedryck Boyata to go to Blackburn to gain a season's loan experience, expect other Premier League clubs to take discussions on outgoing players to deadline day, because of a perception that they will be desperate to release them. But despite the £22m outlay on Nasri – who is likely to be a City player by the weekend – City can afford to wait for the right offer on Adebayor and have him sitting in the stands if necessary, without jeopardising their chances of complying with Uefa's Financial Fair Play break-even rules. Under Annex XI of the FFP rules, the wages of any player whose contract was signed before June 2010 does not initially count towards the profit or loss figure which Uefa will take into account when considering if a club is eligible to play in Europe. Adebayor, Craig Bellamy and Wayne Bridge all fall within that category.
That said, Adebayor's desperation to leave – he refused to train when the players started pre-season training – means that City are ready to consider all options when it comes to seeing the player leave for north London.
Carlos Tevez is also no nearer to leaving the club. "It's hard. I do not think we'll get him," the Internazionale president Massimo Moratti said yesterday. City have still only received contact from the Brazilian club Corinthians about Tevez this summer.
Redknapp, exerting subtle pressure on Levy, said Gareth Bale and Rafael van der Vaart were waiting to see who arrives at the club before deciding on their long-term futures at White Hart Lane. He seemed to be suggesting that it was difficult to decide whether to go into the transfer market to bolster defence and midfield or to repel Chelsea's interest in Luka Modric. "They're your options – get the money and get four players and have a better team in all honesty," Redknapp said. "Or keep Luka who is a fantastic player."
Jake Livermore is Redknapp's only fit central midfielder tonight, when Niko Kranjcar is likely to be brought in from the flank, with Van der Vaart used as a support striker. "We'll invent a new formation with one midfielder and see how we go," Redknapp joked.
Redknapp is keen on West Ham's Scott Parker but the fee and wages have been a stumbling block. After seeing Liverpool invest heavily, Redknapp suggested his team were simultaneously fighting to stay in the top five as well as targeting a Champions League place.
Meanwhile, Blackburn Rovers' hopes of signing Raul from Schalke are understood not to be entirely dead. Rovers are also interested in Danny Wilson, the 19-year-old Liverpool central defender who has failed to break through since signing from Rangers last summer, and St Etienne's former Fulham defender Carlos Bocanegra.
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