Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp will make a homegrown leader his number one transfer target this summer, and has hinted that West Ham's Scott Parker is among the leading candidates.
Redknapp failed in a summer bid to sign Parker last year and he has never hidden his admiration for the combative midfielder, The former Hammers boss made two scouting trips to France this week, but he would prefer to sign a proven Barclays Premier League player to solve the problem and he admits Parker fits the bill.
"We lack one or two strong characters," the Spurs boss said. "It's important that you have one or two leaders. I'd rather find players in this country that can do the job, rather than hope they can do it, if I can. Scott is a quiet boy but he is a leader because on the pitch he leads by example."
He added: "I'm not just saying necessarily Scott but we need to find one or two that are that type if we can."
Redknapp admits that Parker's performances have not gone unnoticed by other top clubs in the league and thinks he could face strong competition for the midfielder if he decides to lodge a bid for the Football Writers Association (FWA) Player of the Year.
"He is footballer of the year. There will be a lot of big clubs interested in him. Liverpool and Arsenal are, I hear. When you look at the people who have won that FWA award it's amazing. He will not be going somewhere like he did at Chelsea and play a little bit here and there. He will want to go somewhere and be the main player."
Redknapp made bids to sign Sergio Aguero and Giuseppe Rossi in January and has been linked with a number of players in recent weeks. The 64-year-old watched Lille midfielder Eden Hazard twice this week and will fly to the continent to watch another target on Saturday before Sunday's clash against Birmingham.
Manchester City's Shay Given and Emmanuel Adebayor have both been mentioned as potential targets, but Redknapp doubts the FA Cup winners would sell to Spurs.
"We wouldn't get Shay Given from Man City, they don't seem to want to deal with us," he said. "We have tried before to get their players. I tried to sign Craig Bellamy but they wouldn't let him come here.
"I like Shay Given but I don't know if he's fit either. He has had a bit of a shoulder problem. It has come out a couple of times, so we will have to wait and see. Adebayor would be difficult. I don't know if it's true but they were talking about him earning £170k a week."
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