By Greg Stobart
Tottenham have told midfielder Steven Pienaar he can leave this month if Sunderland or another club match their £5 million valuation of the South African, Goal.com can reveal.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp held a conversation with Pienaar last week in which it was concluded that the 29-year-old would be allowed to leave in the January transfer window as he seeks first-team opportunities.
Pienaar has struggled to settle at Tottenham since his £2.5m move from Everton last January and has not featured in a single Premier League game this season, being restricted to just three Europa League appearances.
Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill is understood to be preparing a £4m bid for the former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund man in his first transfer window since taking over from Steve Bruce at the Stadium of Light. Black Cats owner Ellis Short is determined to back O’Neill in the transfer market, with the Northern Irishman looking to add up to four players to the squad.
Spurs, however, are determined to hold out for at least twice the fee they paid for Pienaar, who was signed for his versatility as he can play both centrally and in wide positions.
Everton have already made an enquiry to re-sign Pienaar on a loan deal until the end of the season but Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy would rather complete a permanent transfer.
Goal.com revealed in November that Spurs are ready to make a £7m opening bid for Blackburn attacker Junior Hoilett as a like-for-like replacement for Pienaar or Niko Kranjcar, who is also unhappy with a lack of playing opportunities at White Hart Lane.
"Harry and Steven had an honest conversation and the conclusion was that he would be allowed to leave if a decent offer comes in," a source told Goal.com. "Harry is a big fan - after all, he signed him in the first place - but it just hasn't worked out.
"He won't be leaving on the cheap, though. It will take at least £5-6m for Spurs to sell in January."
Aston Villa are also believed to be looking at Pienaar but Sunderland and Everton have shown more solid interest. Pienaar was hugely popular with Toffees fans during a successful three-and-a-half year spell on Merseyside.
One obstacle to a move could be Pienaar’s wage demands as he is one of the highest earners at the north London club on a salary of £60,000 a week. His high wages are one factor in the club’s desire to sell Pienaar, especially with the likes of Luka Modric seeking improved terms.
Meanwhile, Tottenham youngster Jake Livermore is a loan target for QPR as the west London club seek to strengthen their squad in an attempt to avoid a relegation battle this season.
Rangers boss Neil Warnock is already on the verge of signing striker Federico Macheda on loan from Manchester United and sees Livermore as a potential partner to Alejandro Faurlin in central midfield.
Tottenham also confirmed on Sunday that winger Andros Townsend has joined Leeds on loan until the end of the season.
Follow Greg Stobart on