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With no United deal, Keane eyes Italy

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mark Jones

DUBLIN — Roy Keane’s future at English soccer giants Manchester United was looking increasingly uncertain this week with new speculation that the Republic of Ireland captain could be on the move to Italian club Lazio for a reputed deal worth £25 million.

Keane, who’s 28, is currently involved in a protracted contractual wrangle with United, who are reluctant to smash their wage structure to accommodate the Cork-born midfielder’s demands. Keane is believed to be demanding a salary of £40,000 a week and has already turned down an offer of £30,000 a week.

The figures appear inflated. However, such players as David Ginola of Spurs, Newcastle’s Alan Shearer and Marcel Desailly and Didier Deschamps of Chelsea are already on the £40,000-a-week mark and, given his track record of success, the Irishman wants parity.

"Deep down, they must have known it wasn’t something I could sign," Keane said of United’s offer. "I want to stay at Old Trafford, but I won’t be frightened to look elsewhere if I feel I have to. If I go I can’t see it being to another English club. I would have to be looking at Italy and I wouldn’t go there unless I was joining one of the top teams."

Keane was a central figure last season in Manchester’s ground-breaking treble achievement of European Champions League, English Premiership and FA Cup victories and now he wants to be rewarded financially.

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However, sources at the club are saying that if Keane gets his way, then similar wage claims will immediately come in from the likes of David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Dwight Yorke.

United’s manager, Alex Ferguson, said the club would have to break its wage structure if it were to maintain a dominant position in English soccer.

"They are going to have to change, because life changes," said Ferguson, who is desperate to hold on to Keane’s services.

Meanwhile, another Keane, teenage Republic of Ireland striker Robbie, is once again being targeted by Aston Villa. His club, Wolves, have already turned down a £5 million offer from Villa, but Keane was watched last weekend by Villa manager John Gregory as he scored the only goal in a 1-0 triumph over Manchester City.

It has also been learned that the 19-year-old Dubliner spent a night in jail this summer after he was a passenger in a car driven by Wolves colleague Kevin Muscat, who police said was driving drunk. No charges were pressed against Keane, but he is likely to be fined by the club.

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