Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, has been given the green light to bring in up to three new players after his side turned potential Champions League disaster into likely success in Switzerland on Tuesday night. After trailing 3-0 after the first half an hour against Young Boys of Berne, Spurs, who initially struggled on an artificial surface, fought back to end the leg 3-2.
"If there is ever such a thing as a good defeat then that was it," Redknapp admitted. With the cushion of two away goals the club's hierarchy are confident Spurs will complete the task of winning the leg at White Hart Lane next week and will allow Redknapp to spend on new talent, given the £30 million (Dh174m) bounty of Champions League proper which now awaits. It means that Redknapp will have the resources to make a £15m bid for Luis Fabiano, the Brazil international striker.
Luis Fabiano has just one year left on his contract with Sevilla, the Spanish Primera Liga side, who have just turned down a £12m offer for the player from Marseille, the French champions. Redknapp has been tracking Luis Fabiano, 29, all summer and now Spurs are on the brink of Champions League qualification the manager wants to add a striker of such proven world class quality to his squad. "Of course he is the sort of player who would interest us," Redknapp said. "But I am aware Fabiano has other clubs interested. That's because he is such a quality player."
As ever with just two weeks of the transfer window remaining there are plenty of potential twists and turns. Now Marseille have lost out on the Brazilian they have turned their attention to Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko. But it was the Russian striker who scored the vital second goal for Spurs against the Swiss side and even though Redknapp used him sporadically last season he wants to keep the player.
Ideally Redknapp would trade in Robbie Keane, the striker he re-signed from Liverpool in January 2009, and hopes a deal can be agreed with Aston Villa to bring Ashley Young to White Hart Lane in a move that would cost Spurs £10m in cash plus Keane. Redknapp also wants to secure the services of another centre half. Talks will continue with William Gallas the former Arsenal player who is now free agent, But the France international must drop his £95,000-a-week wage demand for Daniel Levy, the Spurs chairman, to sanction a deal.
To help part-finance an influx of new players Keane, midfielders Jermaine Jenas and David Bentley as well as right-back Alan Hutton are all up for sale. Also Redknapp knows he needs to cut the size of his squad to conform to the 25-man Premier League rule, but wants to improve the quality. Jermain Defoe, the England striker who suffered a groin injury in Tuesday's game, expressed the mood of optimism which now surrounds Spurs about their European chances.
"I think we are destined to be in the Champions League because the two chances they had at the end left me with my heart in my mouth," Defoe said. "I am confident we can win the second leg . It will be massive and it'll be a great atmosphere. We worked so hard last season to get to this stage and we don't want to throw it away. It is massive for the club and all we have to do now is win the game."