Harry Redknapp has admitted he was priced out of a move for Andy Carroll and was unwilling to take a £35 million "gamble" on the striker, while Giuseppe Rossi also proved out of his reach on transfer deadline day.
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Spurs undertook a frantic late attempt to sign a new striker at the end of January, and were reported to have failed with a £25 million bid for Carroll before he eventually left Newcastle to join Liverpool on transfer deadline day.
Redknapp and his chairman Daniel Levy were unwilling to sanction that kind of spending and another offer for Villarreal and Italy forward Rossi fell through due to the Spanish club's demands.
"Carroll was too dear; he's a real prospect and could turn out to be a bargain," Redknapp told talkSPORT. "No one knows how he's going to do at Liverpool but he's certainly got the potential to be a top player.
"I've got Crouch though and he's done great for me, and it wasn't simply the case of throwing £35 million at one player, it would have been a big gamble. It could come off but it wasn't one that we were prepared to take.
"We tried and had some targets but when there are crazy, crazy sums of money being asked for players and then the wages are ridiculous and in the end we just couldn't pull anything off, it wasn't through lack of trying though.
"To be honest, I wasn't that desperate though, we've got good players here and if it was someone who was going to be better than what we had I was quite happy to sit tight. If we could have got that special player then we would have got him, we tried to get people like Giuseppe Rossi but the transfer fee and the wages were just too much."
Bale has missed Spurs' last three matches after struggling with a back injury, but has returned to training and is expected to be fit in time for Tottenham's trip Sunderland next Saturday.
"Gareth is coming on okay," Redknapp said. "He's training today, running and he should be back for next weekend."
Redknapp is hopeful Modric will be back in two weeks' time, but admitted the Croatian, who had his appendix removed earlier in the week, could be out for longer.
"Luka shouldn't be too long, he should be back within two weeks, hopefully," Redknapp said. "We'd like him to be available [for AC Milan game], but if he's not, we won't rush him into it. We have to make sure he's right."