Harry Redknapp fears Jonathan Woodgate will be forced to retire if one final operation fails to cure his nightmare groin problem.
Woodgate, who has been plagued by injuries for much of his career, made only three appearances last season and has not played at all since November.
Specialist surgery in both America and Australia has proved unsuccessful and Redknapp believes the 30-year-old is close to having to call it quits.
He said: ''They're talking about having an operation for Jon now. That's his last chance. Well, probably. His last resort, I think, will be an op.''
Former England defender Woodgate will once again travel abroad for the procedure.
Redknapp said: ''Someone abroad's going to do it. The physio's taken him. He's been all around the world looking for a cure.''
Meanwhile, Redknapp has defended his signing of William Gallas - the former Arsenal captain who has chosen to continue his career on the other side of north London - and hit out at his perceived reputation.
''It's all cobblers,'' Redknapp said. ''What's he done? It's not the Yorkshire Ripper I'm signing, is it? He's a footballer, he plays football.''
Admitting, however, that the move was a ''gamble'', he added: ''I met him and he was a great lad, a great guy - I liked him. A very quiet man... I must say, whenever we've played against him, I always felt he was a fantastic defender.
''I spoke to a few people about him - who have played with him and everything else - and everyone came back with the same views as I've got. And if he has got a temperament, from what they tell me and the people I spoke to who've played with him is that he gets the hump with people who are not as professional as he is.''