Thu, Jan 08, 2009 - Page 18 News List

Defoe leaves Portsmouth to return to White Hart Lane


Harry Redknapp brought England striker Jermain Defoe back to Tottenham on Tuesday to start correcting the mistakes of his predecessor, Juande Ramos.

The Spurs manager is still bewildered at the paucity of the squad he inherited from Ramos in October when the Spaniard, now in charge of Real Madrid, was fired for leading the English Premier League club to their worst start in a century.

“It was a badly balanced, put together squad in all honesty from day one,” Redknapp said. “We have no real strength in depth, we have no real cover.”

The impact of Defoe’s exit last January was only truly felt in the opening weeks of the season when Dimitar Berbatov’s transfer to Manchester United went through with strike partner Robbie Keane having already left for Liverpool.

Ramos’ solution was signing Roman Pavlyuchenko only to deem the Russian incapable of playing alongside Darren Bent.

With the transfer window reopened, Redknapp brought Defoe back to White Hart Lane 12 months after taking him to Portsmouth for £9 million (then US$18 million) because he was not getting regular starts under Ramos.

But can Defoe play with Bent or Pavlyuchenko?

“I hope so,” Redknapp said. “We’ve paid £18 million for Bent, £15 million for Pavlyuchenko, and [Ramos] said they couldn’t play together. I couldn’t be that stupid surely.”

Redknapp hit out at suggestions that he snatched Defoe away from Fratton Park against his former club’s will.

“I didn’t go and rape Portsmouth, Portsmouth wanted to sell Jermain Defoe,” Redknapp said. “I said I wouldn’t go back and upset anybody or try to take any players from them unless the club wanted to sell them and the club wanted to sell Jermain.”

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