Unsettled Bafana Bafana star Steven Pienaar's move from Everton to Tottenham moved a step forward this week amid reports that the 28-year-old from Westbury near Johannesburg could move in a January swap deal involving Croatian international Niko Kranjcar.
Pienaar has turned down a new contract at Goodison Park, where he was not offered parity with Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta despite being injury-free and voted the Toffees' fans Player of the Season earlier this year.
The South African's contract runs out at the end of the season and he will be able to move for free in June 2011. But Everton boss David Moyes accepts it would be wiser to sell in the January transfer window, and the News of the World - England's biggest-selling newspaper - claims the club are considering a deal which would see Spurs offer the out-of-favour Kranjcar and £1m in exchange for the 55-cap international Pienaar.
Moyes said: "It may well come to it in the January transfer window that we have to consider selling Pienaar to raise money, because he is out of contract in the summer.
"We know we need a striker but realistically, the sort of money we will raise through that route, what type of player is it going to buy for us in the January market?
"The sort of money I'd raise, I don't think it will attract the type of player we need, the type of player we are looking for to provide the goals.
"The sort of money it will cost, I don't think selling a player will solve that particular problem, and it is probably a reality that it will be the loan market we will need to look at to provide some sort of solution."
Kranjcar, 26, who has played just three Premier League games for Spurs this season, would be an automatic pick for Moyes, who tried to get the 61-cap Croatian on a loan deal at the start of the season.
Pienaar, careful not to antagonise the adoring Everton faithful, said yesterday: “I am still focused on staying at Everton. The season is not over yet, anything can happen. I can't comment on the Tottenham speculation, I don't know what is going on.
“The media in England is big and they say a lot - I am just happy at Everton and focusing on them.”
But at 27, Pienaar is clearly keen on a career-finishing move to a club with Champions League potential and Spurs have just qualified ahead of champions Inter Milan at the top of their “Group of Death” which also featured Werder Bremen and Dutch champions FC Twente.
With his side still in title contention, Redknapp has already expressed his interest in Pienaar and said before the impressive 1-1 with champions Chelsea on Saturday: "We are short in midfield. We have Jermaine Jenas, Tom Huddlestone and Wilson Palacios. That is not enough. We have left ourselves short.”
Pointedly ignoring the claims of Kranjcar, Redknapp added: "Jamie O'Hara went on loan to Portsmouth, and we sold Didier Zokora and Kevin-Prince Boateng. It is the only area that scares me a bit. Luka Modric can play there as well but, if we get injuries, we only have three and that's not enough."
Redknapp will also be influenced by the imminent arrival of SuperSports United captain Bongani Khumalo. As revealed exclusively here on Monday, centre-back Khumalo, 23, received his work permit last Saturday and will complete a £1m move to White Hart Lane on New Year’s Day.
After a disastrous episode with South African Mbulelo “OJ” Mabizela, despite scoring on his debut, Khumalo will be able to lean on the experienced Pienaar on his arrival in North London. OJ returned home needing treatment for addictions after suffering chronic homesickness in 2007. Pienaar could be the key to Khumalo settling in, much like Lucas Radebe and Philemon Masinga when they moved in tandem from South Africa to Leeds in 1995.