Robbie Keane has started negotiations with Birmingham City after Tottenham Hotspur finally accepted an offer of £4million for the 30-year-old, with the fee potentially rising to £6million. The deal was some way off being completed at the time of going to press, however, with Keane's excessive wages of £65,000 a week a clear stumbling block. Further clouding the picture was West Ham's late interest.
Although looking far likelier to be relegated than Birmingham, their appeal could radically alter for Keane with Martin O'Neill's appointment – a move that was widely expected all of yesterday. Although some English newspapers reported yesterday that West Ham sources were insisting Avram Grant would not be sacked, there was still no statement of public support ahead of their game against Arsenal.
The London club were understood to be playing a dangerous game though. With O'Neill notoriously cautious about such moves, sources close to the Aston Villa manager suggested he was becoming perturbed with the amount of leaks out of West Ham.
While O'Neill could perhaps re-invigorate the career of Keane, another London club maintaining interest are Fulham. Whichever side Keane chooses, however, all three would perhaps represent a best-case scenario. After talk of a return to Celtic or even a move to the MLS, Keane will remain in the Premier League. During his time on the bench at Tottenham, a sharpness has disappeared from his game while even his speed has notably decreased. Giovanni Trapattoni will need Ireland's top scorer at somewhere approaching his best as the Euro 2012 campaign kicks off again shortly.
Keane's current club, Tottenham, will not be completing the signing of Everton's Steven Pienaar meanwhile. Instead, the Sunday Tribune has learned the South African international has decided to join Inter Milan. With Everton confirming yesterday that they had accepted a bid for the midfielder, Spurs and Chelsea were rumoured to be the interested party. Sources close to the negotiations have informed the Sunday Tribune, however, that Pienaar has opted for the current European champions. Notwithstanding any last-minute setbacks, the move is expected to be announced in the next week.
Spurs, meanwhile, may also miss out on David Beckham. Harry Redknapp yesterday said he would be willing to scrap his move for Beckham if LA Galaxy continue to demand the midfielder returns to the United States by mid-February.
Beckham started a month-long training spell at the north London club on Monday and is still hopeful he will turn out in a Tottenham shirt.
Galaxy start the new MLS season on 15 March but want Beckham back in LA shortly after his training spell with the club is scheduled to end on 10 February. Beckham is two weeks away from match fitness and would therefore only be able to play three matches if he had to return that early.
Redknapp would also have to discard one member of his 25-man squad to accommodate the midfielder if he intends to play him after 31 January.
Redknapp sounded pessimistic about his chances of landing the former England captain, and admitted he started negotiations with Galaxy hoping to agree a loan until the end of the Premier League season.
"If it was only until February 10 that would only be a month," said Redknapp, whose side take on leaders Manchester United today.
"To do that would be a waste of time because, by the time David got fit, it would be a couple of weeks and suddenly you'd be into February.
"I would have liked him to play, if he could have come to the end of the season it would have been great. I didn't know it was only going to be two months at best. When it was mentioned, I thought 'yeah, to the end of the season it would be good'. Then, suddenly two months becomes a month, and only if we got permission.
"By the time he's fit, just to throw him in for three or four games would be difficult."
Finally, Stoke City's bid to sign Hoffenheim striker Demba Ba has fallen through after the player failed a medical, the club has revealed. The Senegal international had agreed personal terms with the Potters and was set to sign for around £6m.
"Having agreed all the financial terms of the deal with Hoffenheim and the player, he failed his medical," said chief executive Tony Scholes. "We will not therefore be signing him on a permanent basis."