By Greg Stobart
Tottenham will make a £7 million bid for Blackburn Rovers star Junior Hoilett in January in a move that will pave the way for Niko Kranjcar to leave White Hart Lane, Goal.com can reveal.
Harry Redknapp, the Spurs manager, has identified Hoilett as a leading target as he looks to bolster his side as they aim to secure a top four finish and possibly challenge for the Premier League title.
Hoilett will be out of contract at the end of the season and Blackburn are understood to fear they will be forced to sell the versatile forward in the New Year to avoid losing him on a free transfer next summer. The 21-year-old has so far refused to sign a new deal for the bottom side in the Premier League and Rovers are increasingly resigned to his departure.
Newcastle, Stoke and Arsenal have been linked with moves for Hoilett but Tottenham are leading the race and hope to take advantage of the Canadian's contract situation with a £7m offer when the transfer window opens in January.
If Spurs do sign Hoilett, the club would look to offset the expenditure by selling £7m-rated midfielder Niko Kranjcar, who was the subject of significant summer interest from clubs including Sunderland and Roma.
The 27-year-old Croatian is currently sidelined with an ankle injury but has publicly expressed his desire for a transfer after finding himself out of Redknapp's starting line-up for most of last season.
Tottenham will grant Kranjcar his wish should they sign Hoilett, but the Londoners are not planning to listen to offers for fellow midfielder Steven Pienaar, who has struggled to settle since joining from Everton in a £2.5m deal in January.
White Hart pain | The Croatian has struggled to seal a place in the Tottenham line-up
Hoilett, who joined Blackburn as a youth team player at the age of 13, has been one of the few bright points in a disappointing season and does not want to commit his long-term future to a club in serious risk of relegation.
Blackburn are reportedly ready to make him one of the club's highest paid players but talks have stalled over Rovers' desire to insert a release clause worth as much as £18m. Hoilett, who is represented by his father, knows he will not be short of offers from bigger clubs.
Redknapp believes Hoilett's pace, creativity and versatility will give Spurs useful attacking options while the player fits into chairman Daniel Levy's model of buying young players with sell-on potential.
“He [Hoilett] is a good player," admitted Redknapp last week. "We have never made any enquiries for him, but he has been an exciting little player this year.”
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