Harry Redknapp has turned down the chance to buy the Brazilian striker Adriano from Internazionale and persuaded Tottenham to go back to Portsmouth today with a £15m offer for Jermain Defoe. Redknapp regards Defoe as his No 1 target and has persuaded the Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy to increase his original bid for the player.
Redknapp spoke yesterday for the first time about his interest in Defoe whose £24m valuation by Portsmouth, who bought him from Spurs last January, was the "crazy" price that Redknapp referred to earlier in the week. Redknapp was offered the option of taking Adriano, Jose Mourinho's out-of-favour striker, and would have considered it if Internazionale had allowed him to go out on loan. However, it was considered too much of a risk to sign permanently a player who has a reputation for being difficult.
Mourinho would also have accepted a swap deal for Adriano and the player is still being touted around Premier League clubs by Internazionale. Adriano's colourful private life, as well as his injuries, means that he is a much less attractive prospect than when he was at the peak of his goalscoring powers three years ago. Adriano has played just seven times for his club so far this season and his contract runs out at the end of next season. He spent the second half of last season on loan to Sao Paulo.
Redknapp regards Defoe as his best bet of keeping Spurs in the Premier League and has focused his resources upon him. There is no prospect of Portsmouth allowing Peter Crouch and Glen Johnson to leave the club as well if they sell Defoe for £15m which will, along with the sale of Lassana Diarra for €20m (£19.1m) to Real Madrid, represent a very good return, having originally agreed deals worth around £13m for the pair.
The Independent revealed on Monday that Defoe was Spurs' key target and that the player was keen to go especially since he had originally been left out of the Portsmouth squad by Tony Adams for Sunday's game against Arsenal. He was eventually made a substitute for the match having not been part of the Portsmouth manager's plans before that. There is a belief at Pompey that the striker's form dipped in December.
On Defoe, Redknapp said: "If the price is right [for Defoe] and if Tony and Peter Storrie [the Portsmouth chief executive] want to sell him and it's what we consider at our valuation and theirs, then fine, he is a good player. There are other options as well, I have a little list and if we don't get one we can move to another. If we can't get them, then we won't be getting anyone.
"I don't think we'll be splashing vast amounts, the chairman asked who I'd want if we could get them. If we can end up with a couple, then great. You get agents calling up offering players and it would only cost you your job if you took them. I know exactly what I want and it is a waste of time calling up for anyone else. I have a very short list of players that interest me and if we can get them, great."
Tottenham were quoted £24m for Defoe from Portsmouth when negotiations began but they think that £15m will be enough to persuade Pompey to sell.
Redknapp also confirmed yesterday that he had made an offer, of £6m, for the Welsh international Craig Bellamy, which had been rejected by West Ham on Christmas Eve. "We made an offer for Craig," he said. "He belongs to West Ham and if they don't want to sell him, that is their prerogative. We cannot force them to sell him but he is a player I like."
Number of goals that Defoe scored for Spurs in his last spell at the club, from 110 starts.Reuse content