Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe has revealed coach Juande Ramos has told him he can leave White Hart Lane.
Jermain Defoe has struggled for regular games at Spurs
But the 25-year-old England forward - who is out of contract at the end of next season - insists he wants to stay.
Defoe told The Sun: "The manager has said I can leave if I want, but I want to stay here and prove him wrong.
"He called me into his office and told me. I thought it was a joke. I thought he was going to say I would be starting against Arsenal in the Carling Cup."
The striker added: "He just said 'you can leave if you want to'. Yet I have no intention of leaving this club because I love it here."
Defoe has not agreed a new deal at Spurs and there are fears within White Hart Lane that he could walk out on a free transfer in 18 months in a repeat of the saga that ended with Sol Campbell moving to arch-rivals Arsenal.
Now he is waiting to discover if he will edge out Robbie Keane or Dimitar Berbatov for a place against Arsenal in the Carling Cup semi-final first leg at the Emirates.
He has not been a regular in the Spurs line-up in the last two seasons, and Aston Villa have been linked with a move in the January transfer window.
Defoe said: "I would love to sign a new contract and I know people at the top of the club want me to stay. But no-one can expect me to sign a new deal if I can't get a game.
"If I had wanted to I could have gone ages ago. I have never said I wanted to leave Spurs and I don't now."