Crouch set for dream return
PETER Crouch is set for a dream return to Tottenham and a rapid reunion with Harry Redknapp and Jermain Defoe, with Portsmouth manager Paul Hart expecting the striker to leave. The south coast outfit were taken over...
By Ben Pearce
PETER Crouch is set for a dream return to Tottenham and a rapid reunion with Harry Redknapp and Jermain Defoe, with Portsmouth manager Paul Hart expecting the striker to leave.
The south coast outfit were taken over by Dubai businessman Sulaiman Al Fahim on Tuesday but Hart, who was immediately named the permanent manager, concedes that Crouch is unlikely to be part of Pompey's planned revival.
"I think Peter will leave," said Hart. "Peter was fantastic during the three months that I was caretaker manager last season and we will be sorry to lose him. Everybody wants to keep their best players but we have to be realistic."
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Having narrowly survived relegation at Fratton Park last season, Crouch has been casting his eye further up the Premier League.
The England international, who has scored 15 times in 32 appearances for the Three Lions, was on the verge of joining Sunderland last week and even agreed personal terms.
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But the forward pulled out of the deal at the 11th hour after Redknapp announced his interest last Friday night, and the Spurs boss confirmed his pursuit on Tuesday.
"Crouchy, I have signed several times, and if Portsmouth want to sell we could be interested," said Redknapp after the pre-season friendly against Peterbrough. "It depends on everything about price etcetera, but everyone has their price and it would be up to the chairman and Portsmouth to sort out a price. I love Crouchy but we will have to wait and see."
Spurs have not yet bid for the 28-year-old, who has cost a total of �24.5million in transfer fees during his career, but Redknapp is willing to match the �12m offer that Pompey accepted from Sunderland last week.
Crouch originally came through the ranks of Tottenham's academy but didn't play a single game for the first team before moving to QPR for �60,000 in 2000. Nine years on, the Lilywhites are prepared to pay 200 times that fee to bring him back.
Redknapp has a long history with Crouch, having first signed him at Southampton for �2m in 2004, as the lanky hitman netted 12 Premier League goals in 27 showings.
And last summer the manager paid �9m to take him from Liverpool to Portsmouth, partnering him with Defoe.
Redknapp's dream strike duo scored 19 goals between them in all competitions during their brief four months together at Fratton Park.
And, having re-signed Defoe for Tottenham in January, the 62-year-old Spurs supremo is desperate to bring his 'little and large' act back together in north London.
If he is successful, Crouch would be the fourth player in six months to return to Spurs under Redknapp, after Defoe, Robbie Keane and Pascal Chimbonda were also tempted back to N17.
Fulham are also interested in signing the 6ft 7ins forward but, regardless of his personal history with White Hart Lane, Redknapp and Defoe, Crouch is well aware that Tottenham offer greater ambition, potential and wages and hopes to sign in the coming week.