ROBBIE Keane's move away from Tottenham is edging ever closer after West Ham agreed to a 'hire purchase' deal for the Ireland captain which hinges on the Hammers' Premier League survival, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.
Spurs and West Ham have been locked in talks over the last 48 hours on a loan move and a deal is now very close to completion.
West Ham will pay a one-off fee of €1million for Keane's services until the end of the season and will then cough up a further €5 million in the summer - but only if West Ham stay up.
If the Hammers are relegated, Keane will go back to Tottenham.
West Ham - who just missed out on a Carling Cup final appearance with their semi-final loss to Birmingham City last night - want to offer Keane an escape route from his Spurs nightmare. The Dubliner has started just two games for Tottenham all season.
Earlier this week Giovanni Trapattoni warned Keane that his place in the Ireland team for the next game in the Euro 2012 qualifiers against Macedonia in March would be under threat if Keane was not playing first team football, throwing up the prospect of Keane being dropped by Ireland for the first time since 2000.