Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, believes it is only a matter of time before Manchester City win the English Premier League. Both City and Spurs are currently in the United States for the Barclays New York Challenge and they meet on the opening day of the English season. Spurs beat City to the coveted fourth place last season to claim a place in the qualifying round of the Champions League.
However, City's owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed, has bankrolled another summer spending spree which continued on Saturday with the capture of Aleksandar Kolarov, the Serbia left-back, for a reported £19million (Dh107,641m) fee from Lazio. Jerome Boateng (£10.5m), David Silva (£29m) and Yaya Toure (£24m) have all also joined the Eastlands revolution for big money, while Roberto Mancini, the City manager, is keen to land Mario Balotelli, the Inter Milan striker, with a reported £24million offer on the table.
Redknapp - renowned for his shrewd dealing in the transfer market - feels if things continue, then City will inevitably get the ultimate return for such a heavy investment. "They can go out and sign almost anybody," Redknapp told BBC Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme. "They have come over here to New York and have almost 80 people in their party - it is just incredible. Money seems to be no problem, because the man who owns the club has so much. I genuinely think that eventually they will win the championship.
"If they continue and the owner stays involved, and he seems very keen, then I can see them in the next few years putting together a team that will win the Premier League." The north London club continue to be linked with the likes of Raul, Real Madrid's veteran forward, and Sevilla's Brazil striker Luis Fabiano. Redknapp said: "We have got a big squad, but having one or two new faces freshens everything up, and gives you a little push- and I think we need to do that.
"I do not think you have to spend big money in our situation. There are one or two players out there, whether it be loans or free transfers. "You do not have to spend fortunes, but there are one or two players who would improve us." Redknapp revealed concerns over the fitness of Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King, the defenders, ahead of the new season. "Jonathan will not be fit for the start of the season," Redknapp said. "He's in a position where he can't train or kick a ball. Ledley has come back and his knee is not great and he has a groin problem."
Redknapp, meanwhile, hopes Robbie Keane, the striker who spent part of last season on loan at Celtic in Scotland, will integrate back into the squad. "Robbie is a fantastic professional, who trains hard and wants to play," the Spurs manager said. "I still think he has a lot to offer. The thing is he wants to play all the time. There is every chance he could start the season, but if it doesn't work out then I am sure he will be the first one to come and tell me that he needs to play somewhere."
Arsenal, Spurs' north London rivals, are expected to bring in at least another defensive player. Sol Campbell could be ready to take up the offer of a one-year extension, while the Gunners are said to be weighing up a £15m bid for Phil Jagielka, the Everton defender, with Cristian Zapata, the Udinese centre-half, another on Arsene Wenger's radar. The Arsenal manager has also made it clear he has yet to settle on his No 1 acquisition target ahead of the new campaign.
Maarten Stekeleburg, Ajax's Holland international, has emerged as a potential target, with Mark Schwarzer, the Australian stopper, seeming to have been priced out of any deal by Fulham, who want around £4m for the 37-year-old. Another central defender with injury worries is Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, who faces another six weeks on the sidelines and will miss the start of the season. Ferdinand injured his knee on June 4 while in a World Cup training camp with England. United had hoped he would be available for the club's opening match of the season against Newcastle on August 16 at Old Trafford. But Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, says Ferdinand is "probably around six weeks away from playing".
That would see Ferdinand miss matches against Newcastle, Fulham and West Ham, and jeopardise his chances of playing in England's opening Euro 2012 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Switzerland in early September. * Agencies