Harry Redknapp facing uncertain future
Oliver Kay Chief Football Correspondent
Last updated at 12:01AM, June 5 2012
Harry Redknapp’s future as manager of Tottenham Hotspur appears increasingly uncertain before he heads into contract discussions with the club’s hierarchy this week.
Redknapp is eager to resolve his future by signing an extension to his present deal at White Hart Lane, which has barely 12 months to run, and has appointed Paul Stretford, Wayne Rooney’s agent, to handle negotiations with the club. But Daniel Levy, the Tottenham chairman, is understood to see little benefit in rushing to offer a new contract.
There is a view among some in the boardroom that the club need to start planning for their future beyond the tenure of the 65-year-old Redknapp. While there is respect for his work in re-establishing Tottenham among English football’s elite, there is some support for the idea of allowing Redknapp’s contract to run into next season before deciding either to offer him a new one-year deal later in the year or looking to replace him with a younger manager next summer.
Should the board show reluctance to commit to a new contract at this stage, it could feasibly be seen as a vote of no confidence in Redknapp.
For his part, the Tottenham manager is reported to have been targeted by a club in Qatar, where there would be a lucrative long-term contract. Last year he admitted to having been tempted by such an offer in 2010 from Al Ahli, the Dubai club.
Redknapp also continues to be mentioned in influential circles in connection with the vacancy at Chelsea. Roman Abramovich still hopes to persuade Pep Guardiola to take that job, but the former Barcelona coach wants time to reinvigorate himself after four years in charge at the Nou Camp. If Abramovich decides on a short-term appointment while waiting for Guardiola, Roberto Di Matteo is a strong contender, but the idea of hiring Redknapp has also been discussed by those around the Chelsea owner.
It adds to the sense of intrigue surrounding Redknapp’s discussions with Tottenham, both about his own future and his hopes to add to the squad. Redknapp has said that the club are close to finalising a deal to sign Jan Vertonghen, the 25-year-old Ajax and Belgium defender, but the manager and Levy have much to discuss regarding their transfer strategy for next season.
Uncertainty persists over the futures of Luka Modric and Gareth Bale, Tottenham’s two most prized assets, although Redknapp has confidently stated that Bale will not move this summer. Modric, the Croatia midfield player, was the subject of a dogged pursuit last summer from Chelsea, who could yet renew their interest along with Paris Saint-Germain and possibly Manchester City and Manchester United.
Redknapp’s working relationship with Levy has often been strained and there remains a difference of opinion over Tottenham’s failure to secure Champions League qualification for next season. While Redknapp believes his team were highly unfortunate to lose their place to Chelsea, the newly crowned European champions, after finishing fourth in the Barclays Premier League with a points tally that no other Tottenham manager has matched in 25 years, Levy was exasperated by their late-season collapse.
Tottenham briefly emerged as contenders to join the Premier League title race after a superb run of form between September and January, but their challenge fell away when they took only six points from nine league matches between February 25 and April 21.
Although Redknapp maintains that the decline had nothing to do with speculation linking him with the England job, for which he was eventually overlooked in favour of Roy Hodgson, the board believes it served as an unwelcome distraction.
Redknapp’s decision to appoint Stretford as his agent has come as a surprise, but the Tottenham manager is understood to have been unhappy with some aspects of his present deal at White Hart Lane.http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/sport/football/clubs/tottenhamhotspur/article3435828.ece