Spurs priced out of Van Nistelrooy move

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The Independent Online

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, admits Ruud van Nistelrooy's wage demands mean the Real Madrid striker is unlikely to arrive at White Hart Lane.

The German club Hamburg have almost certainly won the race to sign the 33-year-old Netherlands international, with West Ham United and Stoke City also interested in Van Nistelrooy. Whether the Bundesliga club have been able to match Van Nistelorooy's Madrid salary remains to be seen but they seem to have agreed to pay more than Spurs are willing to. There had been talk of £100,000 per-week demands but that would have put off the Spurs chairman, Daniel Levy. "We don't pay that type of wages here," Redknapp said. "Daniel, the chairman here, runs a good business and wouldn't be paying that sort of money.

"It would break our wage structure by an awful long way. He's probably worth it and is probably earning an awful lot more at Madrid. He's been a great player and could still be that for someone. It's a gamble because he has been injured. A fit Van Nistelrooy is world class but it's a gamble as to whether he's fit. If you have him for 18 months and he's not fit it's a big problem to have a massive wage on your bill. But if he plays and scores he can take the club to another level. He's a fantastic player but that sort of basic wage wouldn't be a possibility at Tottenham. Not a chance."

Jermain Defoe, Robbie Keane and Peter Crouch are Redknapp's first-choice strikers at the moment, with Roman Pavlyuchenko likely to be allowed to leave. "I've got four strikers at moment and I don't want five," Redknapp said. "I think I'll end the season with these four, although that could change next week, you never know."

Pavlyuchenko's former club Spartak Moscow are interested in bringing him back to Russia. Spartak's director of football Dmitri Popov said: "Now everything depends upon Tottenham. If they make just a step in our direction, the problem with Roman's transfer will be solved."