PORTUGUESE star Paulo Futre was almost on his way out of West Ham before he even kicked a ball for the English Premiership club. But manager Harry Redknapp reserved special praise for Futre after his side earned a 1-1 draw with Coventry. Gary McAllister put Coventry ahead in the 12th minute and Marc Rieper equalised for West Ham in the 73rd minute, but Futre almost stole the show as a second-half substitute with subtle skills and guile. Redknapp, who dismissed suggestions that midfielder John Moncur would be leaving the club even though Futre had taken his number 10 shirt, said: 'Paulo is one of the best players I've ever seen. If he can be 75 per cent the player he used to be, I will be very happy.' Redknapp, however, revealed he has an agreement with the former European Cup winner, who managed only one game for AC Milan last season due to a serious knee injury. The clause in the striker's contract calls for it to be cancelled by mutual consent if Futre fails to achieve an acceptable fitness level within the next two months. Futre, 30, was left disappointed at Highbury on Sunday before West Ham's 2-0 defeat by Arsenal, after finding he was not even among the side's five substitutes for the opening game of the season as things began to look bleak. Originally, in fact, his name was among the list of substitutes compiled for the referee Paul Durkin by West Ham assistant manager Frank Lampard, but Redknapp claimed: 'That was just a mistake. 'When I saw it, I changed it and wrote in Rio Ferdinand instead.' Futre achieved world fame in 1987 when he scored the goal which won the European Cup Final for FC Porto. He won 41 caps for Portugal and went on to play for Atletico Madrid in Spain, Portugal's Benfica, France's Marseille and Reggiana of Italy, but a badly injured knee ruined his hopes of extending his career with AC Milan. Redknapp enlisted him for West Ham's growing army of 'foreign legionnaires' in July on a free transfer which was seen as an amazing coup for the modest London club. But now the future for Futre looks more certain, and he has lightened Redknapp's multiple problems at the start of the season. Florin Raducioiu, their GBP2.3 million record signing from Espanyol, and his fellow Romanian international Ilie Dumitrescu, who has played just three times since his move from Spurs in February, have both missed games through injuries.