Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has hinted that midfielder Scott Parker is a summer transfer target.
Parker has been the one player to come through West Ham's dreadful season with his head held high after a series of battling performances that saw him win back his place in the England squad and pick up the Football Writers' Association (FWA) Player of the Year award.
The 30-year-old seems certain to leave Upton Park after the club's relegation was confirmed last week, with the Londoners ready to listen to offers for the player.
Redknapp failed in a summer bid to sign Parker last year and he has never hidden his admiration for the combative midfielder, who is a friend of the Spurs boss' son Jamie.
Michael Dawson aside, Redknapp has few experienced or authoritative players in his squad - a fact which saw him make unsuccessful moves for Everton captain Phil Neville and Holland midfield general Mark van Bommel over the last 12 months.
Redknapp has made two scouting trips to France this week, but he would prefer to sign a proven British or Premier League player to solve the problem and he admits that 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. 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.
"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 lodged 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 Lancastrians would sell to Spurs.
"We wouldn't get Shay Given from Man City, they don't seem to want to deal with us," Redknapp added.
"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."
Redknapp also hit back at Jermain Defoe today after the striker complained he had not played as many first-team games as he deserved this year.
The 28-year-old has struggled for form this season and admitted this week in a televised interview that he had become "frustrated" at his lack of first-team action.
Redknapp says that he wants Defoe to remain at Spurs, but delivered a stinging rebuke to the striker's suggestion that he has not been playing the number of matches that he deserves.
"He hasn't played well enough to play regularly, that's the top and bottom of it. There is no other reason," Redknapp said.
"No-one has more faith in him than I do. He is a fantastic player but his form this year has not been anywhere near it has been in the past.
"He has to let the football do the talking really on the pitch. If he does it on the pitch then I will pick him."