Harry Redknapp has confirmed his interest in bringing David Beckham on loan to Tottenham, although he admitted the midfielder's wages could be a possible stumbling block to the move.
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In what was a U-turn from his recent denials of interest in Beckham, Redknapp revealed he would ask chairman Daniel Levy to persuade Los Angeles Galaxy to lend the 35-year-old to Spurs until the Major League Soccer season begins in March. Beckham has spent the last two MLS close seasons on loan at AC Milan, partly in a bid to extend his England career.
Reports suggest he is eyeing a similar move to Europe this winter and that Premier League sides are queuing up to bring him home. Spurs have now jumped right to the front of the line, with Redknapp revealing he would attempt to bring him back to the club where it all began - before Manchester United even - for the world's most famous player.
"It's whether Galaxy will let him go on loan,'' said Redknapp, well aware of Beckham's softened stance on a Premier League return having previously stated he would only go back to Old Trafford. "If they did, we'd be interested and plenty of others would be as well. He'd be a good influence to have, the type of lad you want at your club and he'd give the whole place a lift.
"He's been a fantastic player and he is someone the players would look up to and respect. And I still think he can do a job for sure. He had no pace when he was 17 but he had a great brain and a great delivery and strike. He's a worker. It's not as if he's suddenly lost blistering pace. He makes the ball do it and plays around people.''
Redknapp revealed that if Beckham and the Galaxy agree to the move, the only stumbling block would be the midfielder's wages.
"He isn't going to come here and get big money - we aren't massive payers at this club,'' Redknapp said. "He has probably got a fantastic house with a pool and he could sit out there every day and enjoy his life for a few months before he starts with LA Galaxy again. But he wants to come over here to the freezing cold and play football. Doesn't that tell you something about the boy that he lives in Los Angeles and he might be a billionaire?
"I've heard stories about how much he earns, it is just incredible, mind-blowing. He could buy any football club in this country if he wanted to. He is not going to do it for the money is he? That tells you everything about him.''
Insisting Spurs' interest in Beckham was not itself motivated by money - chiefly selling shirts - Redknapp also shrugged off concerns about the media circus the former England captain's homecoming would spark, saying: "I don't think it would be a distraction. Once you're in here, the gates are shut.''
Redknapp hoped to exploit Beckham's connection to north London, where he was born and raised.
"He is a local boy isn't he? Leytonstone,'' said the Spurs boss of the man who received a lifetime achievement award at this month's BBC Sports Personality of the Year ceremony. "The reception he got was incredible.''
Revealing he would play Beckham on the wing, Redknapp insisted the veteran midfielder would have to "fight for his place'' at White Hart Lane.
"I'm not say he's going to come in and take (Aaron) Lennon's place but he would be a good option,'' Redknapp added. "I am sure Aaron would love to work with him, on his crossing and everything, and on his final ball. He'd be a good influence around the place.''
Following Tottenham's 1-0 win against Fulham on Saturday Redknapp said: "He could've come on today when we were under pressure. He might've kept the ball for us.
"When I took Teddy Sheringham to Portsmouth, I used to just say, 'Watch him train. Watch everything he does. He does it 100% right.'.
"And I think Beckham's like that. They tell me after training, he spends an hour out there practising. If young players see that, it's better than all the coaching in the world.''
Beckham would also bring title-winning and Champions League experience in what has been a stellar first season in the latter competition for Spurs. But his arrival would mean even fewer opportunities for David Bentley, who Redknapp revealed he would consider loaning out during the transfer window.
The Spurs boss is also planning to send injury-blighted defender Jonathan Woodgate out for a spell in the npower Championship, confirming Cardiff were one of a number of clubs wanting to sign him. Ledley King could yet require surgery on his troublesome groin problem, while goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini may also go under the knife.
Redknapp said of Cudicini: "He has a problem with his shoulder and a problem with his knee. He might need a bit of surgery and he could be out for a couple of months.''