Harry Redknapp last night admitted he has concerns that the hardline approach of the Tottenham Hotspur chairman, Daniel Levy, over Luka Modric could leave him with a disgruntled player moping around the training ground wondering what might have been.
Levy has reiterated to his manager that Modric is not for sale, and Redknapp relayed the chairman's request to Chelsea that they "put an end" to the matter. But as keen as the Tottenham manager is to keep the Croatian midfielder, he admits the prospect of his player wistfully watching today's Champions League draw and wishing he could be part of Chelsea's group may be less preferable to bringing in a clutch of replacements who are committed to Spurs.
"That's the risk you run," Redknapp said. "We can all sit here and say 'he'll be all right', but we don't know what is in his head. Who knows? None of us know how he is going to feel.
"Maybe you would get three or four players in that would make you a better team. I don't want to lose him, but if he really had his mind made up and he wasn't going to be happy, sometimes you are better off [selling because] it gives you a chance to build a stronger team.
"I was talking to [my assistant] Joe Jordan and he said to me 'he's going to be sitting there thinking every week when they are in the Champions League or looking to win the Premier League, he could have been earning 100 grand more every week, or looking to win the Champions League'."
Chelsea have had two bids turned down by Tottenham but Levy repeated his stance on Tuesday that the player is not for sale at any price. Redknapp admits Levy's refusal to grant the player his wish of joining a potential league-winning side for an increased salary leaves him in a difficult situation as a manager.
"What we want to do is keep him and bring a couple of players in," Redknapp said ahead of tonight's home Europa League match with Hearts which Spurs lead 5-0 from the first leg. "We'd be a better team, obviously. But if he isn't happy and he doesn't want to be here that badly, then sometimes you have to sell people and bring three or four in and improve the team that way. But the chairman has made a statement and, credit to him, he's made it and said he has a contract and is going to stay."
One player who is looking set to join Tottenham is Emmanuel Adebayor, who is close to agreeing a loan move from Manchester City. Redknapp is excited about bringing in a player who caused them so many problems in the Champions League last season when the Togo international was on loan at Real Madrid. "He gives us something different," he said. "He has got fantastic ability. He had that spell at Arsenal when he was almost unplayable.
"I spoke to Rio Ferdinand the other day and he said to me he and Vidic thought Adebayor was the most difficult opponent to play against. If he can give them problems he can give anyone problems. So hopefully he can come here and give everyone problems – except me."
Redknapp also expressed an interest in Joe Cole, but denied he had made any enquiries for the Liverpool midfielder. The pair go back to when Cole was an 11-year-old at West Ham.