Roy Keane offered a blunt solution to Dimitar Berbatov's transfer saga after Sunderland ensured Tottenham's start to the season hit a new low: 'I'd drive him wherever he wants to go.'
Berbatov was left out of Juande Ramos' squad after being accused of being unfocused and having a negative effect on the dressing room as he looks for a transfer to Manchester United from White Hart Lane.
At the moment Keane has players hungry for success - shown by Djibril Cisse scoring the winner on his debut - but he knows what his reaction will be if they are distracted by other clubs.
'If a player didn't want to play for me, I know what I'd do - I'd drive him myself to wherever he wants to go,' said the Sunderland boss. 'I've said it before, no player is bigger than any club.
'Sometimes you have to lose to win - Tottenham have lost against Sunderland but long-term it might be best for the business.
'I had a player two years ago when I got my job, I heard he had been speaking to another club within a week or two and I just sold him. And off he popped.'
There are unlikely to be many players wanting to leave while Sunderland continue to impress and Keane's reputation grows.
Keane joked he was the reason Cisse signed on a season loan, although it was something the France striker admitted was true. The 27-year-old is now targeting a permanent contract.
'I want to do my best and try to make it permanent,' he said.
'I had a few options but I chose Sunderland because of the manager. The club have big ambitions and really good players.
'Nobody expects Sunderland to be a good team but I know the boys now and really want to show we're a good team and do well. We can surprise a lot of teams like we did against Spurs.'
Ramos has blamed Berbatov for another poor start to the season for Spurs, with the result meaning they start their campaign as they did a year ago, with two defeats.
'Of course there are repercussions on the players, against Sunderland for example we were only able to play with one forward and we didn't have any substitutes for that one forward,' said Ramos. 'It's bound to have repercussions on the players.
'Players go through physical fitness issues that are good or bad, and this is a psychological issue. We've just got to deal with it.'
In contrast, defender Jonathan Woodgate believes players need to take responsibility.
Woodgate said: 'What because we've lost a couple of games it's Berba's fault? No, that's a load of bull. We've lost the two games because we haven't played well. It's got nothing to do with him.
'The football club's bigger than one player at the end of the day. I don't feel it's been disruptive. The manager makes the decisions.
'Now we'll have to put on a good performance against Chelsea or they'll wipe the floor with us.'
Spurs are ideally looking to bring in another forward before allowing Berbatov to leave.
'That's what we are looking for, we want to have the best centre-forwards we possibly can,' Ramos said.
With Darren Bent toiling on his own up front, Spurs struggled against Keane's men and fell behind to a Kieran Richardson rocket. The midfielder got a kick in the ribs and was taken off but the injury is not thought to be serious.
Jermaine Jenas tapped in an equaliser but Cisse had the last word with his header seven minutes from full-time.