Tottenham Hotspur boss Harry Redknapp rates his top transfer target Jermain Defoe so highly that he says he would not sell him if he was still in charge at former club Portsmouth.
Redknapp is hoping to raid Pompey to sign the England striker, whom he landed from Tottenham just over a year ago, and Spurs' chairman Daniel Levy and Pompey chief executive Peter Storrie have been in talks over the 26-year-old to bring him back to White Hart Lane.
But speaking to the press, amid accusations that he had unsettled his potential transfer targets with his comments to the media, Redknapp said: "It's their [Portsmouth's] choice to say he is not for sale. I wouldn't have sold him if I was manager at Portsmouth and Tottenham came back in, I'd be keeping him."
Redknapp added: "The chairman and Peter Storrie are trying to do a deal. Unless they do a deal, we'll move on. If they want to do a deal they will."
Meanwhile, Portsmouth manager Tony Adams has set about the task of lining up new faces as he prepares to lose Defoe and could use some of the expected £15 million he will fetch to bring Gary O'Neil back to Fratton Park.
Lens' Ivory Coast international Aruna Dindane has also been linked with the club together with Valencia midfielder Edu.
O'Neill is understood to have handed in a transfer request at Middlesbrough and manager Gareth Southgate left the 25-year-old out of their FA Cup win over Barrow on Saturday.
Adams said: "I'm trying my hardest to improve the club and have a recruitment team trying their hardest to improve the club.
"I have to balance the books and try to manage the football club. It's all part of the job."