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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Oct 26, 2008

Harry opens door to pinching Pompey players

Harry Redknapp has opened the door to targeting Portsmouth players in January following his appointment as Tottenham boss to replace Juande Ramos.

Redknapp will take responsibility for transfers after Spurs chairman Daniel Levy dismissed sporting director Damien Comolli as well as Ramos' assistants in a move that will cost Spurs compensation starting at £10million at least.

Levy will sanction transfers when the window reopens, with Redknapp loyal to a number of players he had at Fratton Park, including former Spurs pair Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch.

"It depends whether the club want to sell them,'' Redknapp said.

"If they did it would be an open market and we would be in there like every other Premier League club would be for one or two of the players.''

Spurs have previously been linked with former Arsenal midfielder Lassana Diarra, although a return to White Hart Lane for Sol Campbell has been given extremely long odds by bookmakers.

Redknapp enjoyed success at Fratton Park - their FA Cup win last season took the club into Europe for the first time - while assuming total control of affairs on and off the pitch.

Levy has paved the way for him to continue in that way after scrapping the continental structure that saw Comolli scouting and recruiting players for a head coach.

Comolli paid the price for his transfer record that saw £175million spent in three years, while Ramos was sacked following a record of just three Barclays Premier League wins since guiding the club to the Carling Cup in February.

Ramos said: "The results are what counts in football and we all know how this world works.

"Now we just have to see if this decision is the best one for the team to recover and have a good season.''

Pompey, who will received £5million in compensation, have been linked with Sam Allardyce and Avram Grant as possible replacements for Redknapp.

"Financially it was a good deal for Portsmouth as well,'' Redknapp said.

"It was difficult to leave Portsmouth, if I had not been in such a good club and had not been enjoying myself so much, then it would have been easy to go to another club.''

Redknapp, meanwhile, believes Pompey owner Alexandre Gaydamak wants to sell the club.

"I think Sacha would like to sell if he could find a buyer,'' Redknapp said on BBC Radio Five Live.

"He has put fantastic money into the club and been very supportive, but the club needs a new stadium, a new training ground - it is very difficult to sustain a Premier League club with a stadium which only holds around 20,000 people, with no real corporate boxes or much hospitality.

"Portsmouth needs a new stadium and training ground, that is all very, very expensive. Whether in the long term, Sacha wants to stay and do that, only he would tell you.

"He has been good for the club, but whether he wants to keep going, I am not so sure.''

Gaydamak added: "I am personally very disappointed that Harry has left.

"We did all we could to keep him and up until early evening Saturday I was under the impression that he would be staying as Portsmouth manager.''

Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie revealed the lengths at which the club wanted to keep Redknapp.

"We tried everything we could to keep him at Portsmouth,'' he said.

"However, he made it clear that although he has achieved great success here at Fratton Park, apparently Spurs is one of the only clubs he would consider leaving for.

"The last thing I wanted was to see Harry leave this club but the lure of Spurs proved too much for him to turn down.''

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