x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Tottenham's Redknapp in no mood to let go of Kranjcar

The Croat is disappointed at limited role, but the stakes are too high for the Tottenham manager to sell the utility player in the queue behind their star wingers.

Tottenham’s Niko Kranjcar, right, scored both goals as Croatia beat Malta in Zagreb on Wednesday night.
Tottenham’s Niko Kranjcar, right, scored both goals as Croatia beat Malta in Zagreb on Wednesday night.

Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, wants to keep Niko Kranjcar at White Lane Hart despite the Croatian playmaker expressing his disappointment over his peripheral role this season.

Kranjcar, who Redknapp signed last year from Portsmouth, has made just one league start this season and admitted after scoring two goals in Croatia's 2-0 win over Malta on Wednesday that he does not "want to spend years of my life just sitting on the bench. I have to admit I am not happy playing regularly".

The winger, who can play on either flank and in a central role, has seen his chances limited this season because of the form of Gareth Bale, Luka Modric, Aaron Lennon and the arrival of Rafael van der Vaart.

However, with Tottenham looking poised to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League and likely to be in contention for a top-four spot in the league, Redknapp knows he will need to a deep squad to cope with a hectic fixture list.

Liverpool and Juventus are thought to have been alerted by the potential availability of Kranjcar, who still has three years left on his contract, but the Tottenham manager says it is unlikely that any player will leave the club when the transfer window reopens.

"We don't want to be selling any player in January," he said.

"On the transfer front the only thing I have discussed with the chairman is maybe bringing in one or even two more players to strengthen our squad."

Meanwhile, Carlo Ancelotti is contemplating re-assessing his own claim that he does not need to bolster his Chelsea squad in the January.

And that could put him on a collision course with owner Roman Abramovich.

At the start of the month Ancelotti maintained the Chelsea squad was strong enough to last the distance in both the Premier League and Champions League.

Indeed Ancelotti laughed off any notion that Chelsea would be in the market for Fernando Torres, Liverpool's apparently unsettled striker.

But despite their impressive start to the season the strength in depth of the Chelsea squad is starting to look increasingly thin in the wake of injury and illness to their key players.

John Terry, the captain, admitted this week he does not know how long it will take him to recover from a mystery leg injury.

Frank Lampard, the England midfielder, has been out since August with a groin problem, while Didier Drogba is battling to overcome malaria.

Yossi Benayoun, the Israeli midfielder, signed from Liverpool in the summer, will be out for up to six months while Alex, the Brazilian centre half, is the latest to join the casualty list. He will be out for up to two months with a knee injury.

Chelsea's senior management could soon be regretting the decisions to allow Michael Ballack, Ricardo Carvalho, Juliano Belletti and Joe Cole leave in the summer.

"Ancelotti is starting to wonder whether he should bring in a couple of players in January," a Blues insider said.

"But he will have to clear things with the owner first and that could prove interesting given that Ancelotti's hopes that assistant Ray Wilkins would not be shown the door were not heard."