MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 05: Harry Redknapp of Tottenham Hotspur looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final first leg match between Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on April 5, 2011 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
It looks like Harry Redknapp is finally talking about the thing that holds Tottenham back more than anything else, wages. People look at the transfer fees that Spurs have paid out in recent years and wonder why the club isn't equal with the top four clubs that spend somewhat similarly in fees, but it's the wages that make the difference. The simple truth is that they can't compete to sign top players because they cannot pay the wages that the top players earn.
Harry cited Spurs' recent and predictably fruitless chase of Serhio Aguero, joking, "We were interested in Sergio Agüero but he wanted £250,000 a week in wages. We were only £220,000 short." Now that is a joke, but the club's wage structure keeps them from spending anywhere close to the money Aguero wanted. That's a problem that is going to continue and something Redknapp says will always keep Tottenham from really being a member of the top tier of Premier League clubs.
"You're looking to be a top‑four team and it's difficult; we can't pay the wages that those clubs pay basically," the Spurs manager said. "The chairman [Daniel Levy] runs the club well, you get 36,000 people, you're not going to put the club in hot water.
"I think the wages have gone crazy. That is the problem. It's gone beyond all belief in the last little spell. We're well set up for financial fair play but it doesn't help when you look at what you're up against. It's like when you're a kid and they give you the most improved player of the year award – you're useless."
Spurs can match many transfer fees. Look at Manchester City, who snagged Edin Dzeko for £27 million. The team would get on its knees for a player like Dzeko and could easily match the transfer fee, but they couldn't afford to pay the wages that Dzeko is getting at City. He was never really an option. Many players are never really an option because of wages.
It's not a matter of Spurs or Levy being cheap either. The club is being prudent and ensuring that they don't find themselves upside down because of astronomical wages that they cannot afford because they don't have the revenue of other clubs or a sugar daddy owner willing to absorb all of the club's losses.
This brings us back to the stadium situation. Spurs cannot compete with the big clubs playing at White Hart Lane. The stadium's 36,000 gate receipts are millions of pounds short of the 60,000+ gate receipts that the other clubs get and that's not even getting into the sponsorships and many other revenue streams that Spurs could get from a new stadium. We love the Lane, but Spurs need to move on and getting a deal done for a new stadium, whether ir be the NDP or a new plan, is absolutely essential for the club to compete with the big clubs.