Harry Redknapp says he is open to the prospect of discussing a new deal that would see him stay with Tottenham and snub England.
Redknapp is the overwhelming favourite to become the next England manager, but Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is keen to keep hold of his man after seeing how the club has progressed since he took over in 2008.
Redknapp admitted when Fabio Capello walked out on England that he would consider succeeding the Italian if the FA came calling, conceding he was “flattered” to be linked with what he considers the “ultimate” job for any English manager.
The former West Ham boss also admitted, however, that it would be gut-wrenching for him to leave White Hart Lane after turning Tottenham’s fortunes around over the past three and a half years.
Despite reports to the contrary, Redknapp stressed yesterday that Levy had not offered him a new contract that would go beyond his current one that expires next summer.
But when asked whether he would look at an offer if Levy put one to him, Redknapp said: “Of course. I’m not saying Daniel’s never said he wants me to stay, he said that to me all the time.
“I’ve not actually sat down with him and discussed a contract. There’s been no rush to do that. I’m not pushing him. That’s the way I am. I’ve got a year left on my contract, let’s see what happens.”
Should Levy be forthcoming with a new contract, and should Redknapp sign it, he will not be able to combine both roles – the Spurs boss has admitted as much himself.
Redknapp’s public flirting with the idea of becoming national coach has given little notion to the idea that he would turn his back on his country, but Levy may just hand him an offer he hopes the 65-year-old will not be able to refuse.
Redknapp admits that he would be leaving a club that he has brought on considerably over the last few years, with the help of a number of star players like Gareth Bale, Luka Modric and Rafael van der Vaart.
“This is a club that is going forward,” Redknapp added. “It’s been a great club for many years. It won the double in the 1960s.
“It’s all in place again now. There is a new training ground coming, a new stadium coming. It’s a club with fantastic potential.
“We’ve established ourselves as a top-six team and we are trying to get established as a top-four team, which is hard as there are six teams there who are all very strong.”
Alex Ferguson, Wayne Rooney and Rio Ferdinand are just a few of the many prominent figures in the game who have backed Redknapp for the role.
Such public statements have caused a slight commotion at Tottenham, who are aggrieved to see their manager being linked with a position when he is under contract.
It is understood that Spurs contacted the Premier League to notify them of their grievance, and they responded by issuing a letter to all top-flight managers reminding them that such actions contravene their rules.
Redknapp himself was unaware of the letter, saying today: “I haven’t received a letter, no. I haven’t looked. Maybe there is one.”
Tottenham will face a big test of their credentials tomorrow when they go to Everton on the back of successive defeats which have seen them drop out of the Barclays Premier League title race.
The game will see Louis Saha return to his former club for the first time since moving to White Hart Lane, where he has made a big impact.
“He’s a real talent,” Redknapp said. “I spoke to Rio Ferdinand a few years ago about him and he raved about him.
“He’s got back in the French team now and they went to Germany and won as part of that team. His career is going well at the moment.
“He could cause England problems if he goes to the Euros.”
One consequence of Saha’s arrival has been that top scorer Jermain Defoe has not seen as much game time.
“I don’t think Jermain is happy, he’s probably got the raving hump,” Redknapp joked.