LONDON ENGLAND - JANUARY 30: Harry Redknapp manager of Tottenham Hotspur looks thoughtful prior to the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON 4th Round match between Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur at Craven Cottage on January 30 2011 in London England. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp told the press Sunday morning that he would walk out on the club if it sold its best players this summer. After falling to Chelsea 2-1 on Saturday Tottenham are now further than ever from a position in the top four (Spurs trail Manchester City by seven points with 4 games remaining). In fact, Spurs are now even behind Liverpool for fifth place on goal differential, though Tottenham have a game in hand.
Tottenham Hotspur players Luka Modric, Rafael Van der Vaart, and Gareth Bale, who recently won the PFA Player of the Year award, have all been linked with high-profile and high-priced moves away from White Hart Lane. Redknapp told the Sunday Mirror:
"If you start thinking about selling your best players you might as well give up. What's the point in carrying on? It effectively sends out all the wrong signals. And when one player leaves the rest want to follow him straight out the door. Then you have situation where the quality of football goes into decline and you're going backwards on the pitch."
The Tottenham boss also took time to hit out at his critics who have at times called for his head. Redknapp knows he can't please everyone all the time and rubbished the calls for him to be sacked saying that even if he had won the Champions League of the Premier League critics would have asked why he didn't win both.
While I know the results in the league and the domestic cups have not lived up to expectations, we have to remember that none of us expected our European results. This was always going to be a tough season and with six clubs having a legitimate claim to four Champions League places it was going to be an uphill battle. Perhaps we, as fans, set the bar too high. Considering that in the last ten season our average final league position is 8th a top six finish would be an excellent achievement.
Given the general ineptitude of Tottenham's strikers and the leakiness of its defense I would say that a sixth or potentially fifth place finish would be remarkable. Our strikers have scored 15 goals in the league this year, only three more than Van der Vaart by himself. One has to believe that had Jermain Defoe been even close to his normal self and banged in 15 goals, as opposed to the three he actually scored, Spurs would have been much better off this season.
I have to admit that I am torn. I certainly don't want Tottenham to sell any of their players, but I've also previously advocated that if Spurs receive an offer of anywhere close to £50 million for Gareth Bale they should take it. I'm similarly inclined to depart with Van der Vaart even though he is our top scorer. I am, however, opposed to letting Luka Modric go, whatever the price may be. Certainly the money raised from the sale of these players could help provide the impetus for strengthening the rest of the team, but is it worth the negative impact that Redknapp highlights?
With regard to Harry Redknapp's potential departure, I know I'm in the minority, but I say don't let the door hit you on the way out. Yes, we only had 2 points from 8 games, or whatever it was, when Redknapp joined Spurs in 2008, but I've grown tired of him and his antics. While the selling of good players would certainly be a detriment to any side saying you'll leave if your stars are sold is not the sort of statement that puts an already anguished fanbase at ease.
So this summer could not only see the departure of some of Tottenham's best players, but also the manager that has lead us to new heights. This is going to be a long off-season.