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Page last updated at 12:22 GMT, Tuesday, 1 July 2008 13:22 UK

Liverpool face battle for Keane

By Phil McNulty
Chief football writer

Robbie Keane was a key figure as Spurs won the Carling Cup last season
Robbie Keane was a key figure as Spurs won the Carling Cup last season

Liverpool have launched a surprise move to sign Tottenham striker Robbie Keane - but may be priced out of a deal for the Republic of Ireland star.

Spurs boss Juande Ramos is an admirer of Liverpool forward Peter Crouch and Anfield boss Rafael Benitez is happy to make him part of an exchange deal.

BBC Sport understands Liverpool would be willing to offer Crouch plus cash to sign 28-year-old Keane.

But they fear Spurs will demand 20m for Keane, wrecking a possible deal.

Spurs have not received a transfer request from Keane, despite reports claiming he had demanded to leave White Hart Lane.

Liverpool's transfer plans are currently focused on concluding the protracted and acrimonious pursuit of Aston Villa captain Gareth Barry.

Barry has publicly stated his desire to move to Liverpool - and while Villa boss Martin O'Neill admits he is willing to do business, the current price tag of at least 18m is out of Liverpool's reach.


Benitez's interest in Keane is an unexpected development but, with Crouch likely to go and Portsmouth still his most likely destination and Andriy Voronin struggling to make an impact, he is seen as an ideal partner for Spain's Euro 2008 hero Fernando Torres.

Keane is under contract with Spurs until 2012, having signed a new five-year contract in May 2007.

He was an influential figure last season, scoring 23 goals in a campaign that was capped by the Carling Cup going to White Hart Lane - and Liverpool's move will receive no encouragement.

But reports suggest Keane may be tempted to make the switch by the lure of playing Champions League football at Liverpool, the club he supported as a boy.

He joined Tottenham from Leeds for 7m in August 2002 and has also played for Wolves, Coventry and Inter Milan

Liverpool, meanwhile, may have to wait until European champion Xabi Alonso returns from holiday before they can sort out the Spanish midfielder's future.

Alonso is on a three-week break after being part of Spain's successful Euro 2008 squad, leaving a possible 16m move to Juventus in limbo and boss Benitez waiting to discover if he will get a fresh injection of transfer funds.

see also
Villa prepared to let Barry leave
30 Jun 08 |  Aston Villa
Pellegrino returns as Reds coach
30 Jun 08 |  Liverpool
Huddlestone signs new Spurs deal
30 Jun 08 |  Tottenham
Spurs agree deal for keeper Gomes
26 Jun 08 |  Tottenham
Spurs star Keane weds in Dublin
07 Jun 08 |  UK News
Keane to remain Republic captain
08 Apr 08 |  Internationals

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