Furious Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy hit out last night after being “forced” to sell striker Robbie Keane to Liverpool for a club record £20.3m.
Spurs agreed a deal worth a guaranteed £19m, plus £1.3m depending on clauses – almost three times what they paid Leeds for Keane in 2002, and £1.7m more than they earned from Michael Carrick’s move to Manchester United.
But Levy was distraught at the losing the 28-year-old and insisted he would never have sold his captain
had he been given any choice.
“I don’t regard it as a transfer deal – that is something which happens between two clubs when they both agree to trade – this is very much an enforced sale,” said Levy.
“I was incredibly disappointed when I first heard, not only that Liverpool had been working behind the scenes to bring Robbie to Anfield, but that Robbie himself wanted to go and he submitted a transfer request to this effect.”
Levy initially reported Liverpool to the Premier League over their pursuit of Keane, but Spurs confirmed last night they had dropped their complaint after the Reds apologised and made a donation to the club’s charity
Keane, who scored 107 goals in 254 games while at White Hart Lane, has signed a four-year contract on Merseyside worth a reported £80,000 per week.
The Republic of Ireland skipper was said to be desperate to join Liverpool, the club he supported as a boy, despite rejecting them as a teenager.
He instead signed for Wolves, and was fast-tracked into the first-team, before moving to Coventry, Inter Milan and then Leeds. But 14 years on, Keane has joined his heroes and could make his Reds debut as early as tomorrow against Villarreal.
With the future of Keane’s strike partner Dimitar Berbatov also uncertain, manager Juande Ramos looks certain to sign a forward.
Meanwhile, Darren Bent did his claims for a starting place no harm with four goals in a 5-1 win at Norwich last night. Spurs’ other strike was a Dejan Stefanovic own goal.