Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp insists he would not have moved for William Gallas if he thought the signing would be more trouble than it was worth.
Redknapp was today on the brink of completing the controversial capture of the 33-year-old defender, who quit Arsenal this summer after refusing to accept a pay cut.
Anyone who crosses the north London divide is inevitably branded a villain but Gallas arrives already possessing a reputation for playing the bad guy.
As well as snubbing a new contract at Arsenal, the defender was stripped of the captaincy after publicly criticising his own team-mates.
He was also dubbed a sulker for staging a sit-in following a defeat at Birmingham two and a half years ago, while he quit Chelsea in 2006 with the club accusing him of threatening to score an own goal if he was not allowed to leave, something he vehemently denied.
It is perhaps no surprise there has been a mixed response to the prospect of him joining Arsenal's arch-rivals.
But Redknapp said: "If I was bothered about it, I wouldn't have done it.
"I don't even know what he's supposed to have done wrong. I wish somebody would tell me. He's played football for Arsenal. George Graham managed Arsenal's title-winning team, came to Tottenham.
"Pat Jennings played for Tottenham, played for Arsenal. Alan Ball played for Southampton, played for Portsmouth.
"Micky Channon played for Southampton, played for Portsmouth."
Redknapp, who managed both the latter two sides, added: "You want to see hatred, that is hatred between two clubs."
The Spurs boss also rejected suggestions Gallas might suffer the same treatment as the last high-profile player to cross the north London divide, Sol Campbell.
Redknapp said of Campbell, who quit Tottenham in 2001: "He let his contract run out, didn't he, and they got annoyed with him.
"Sol came through the youth team.
"William Gallas was a great player for Chelsea, wasn't he? He's not Tony Adams or someone whose spent 12-15 years at Arsenal and was a legend. Arsenal were who he played for along the way -- it's part of his life -- and you move on."
Gallas was yesterday undergoing a medical, having agreed a one-year deal, with an automatic one-year extension if he starts 30 games.