Robbie Keane’s long-term future at Tottenham is on the line after a spiky exchange with Harry Redknapp.
Keane responded in the dressing room after coming on as a substitute during Tottenham’s 1-0 defeat at West Ham. The Republic of Ireland striker came on with 24 minutes left and Redknapp felt he had chances to level for Spurs. Although it was all heat of the moment, Keane fears that he may have to look elsewhere in the January transfer window. Redknapp sent him on in the 89th minute of the stunning Champions League victory over Dutch champions FC Twente. He was completely overlooked the following weekend when Redknapp left him on the bench for the 2-1 win against Aston Villa. Keane began Tottenham’s pre-season in sparkling form, but was almost sold on transfer deadline day. Turkish giants Besiktas made an offer for the £65,000-a-week Spurs striker, but he turned it down. He has been unable to force his way into the Spurs team this season and has scored just once for his club. Keane netted in the 4-1 Carling Cup defeat against Arsenal, but has fallen further down the first team pecking order.
Redknapp has landed a gem in Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart and the Spurs chief is willing to change his system to accommodate him. The Spurs boss substituted Roman Pavlyuchenko at half-time against Villa and used van der Vaart as the link man. A Spurs insider said:
"Harry felt the team could have done better against West Ham and Keane had a couple of decent chances. "It was pretty heated in the dressing room, but it’s part and parcel of the game. Robbie’s the sort of player who will always stick up for himself, but he’s not sure where his future is.”
Keane spent four months on loan at Celtic last season, but turned down a permanent move to Parkhead. Instead he decided to fight for a first team place, but has found the going tough despite the absence of Jermain Defoe.