SLOWLY but surely, Robbie Keane's options are narrowing, and it is now highly unlikely that Ireland's captain will find a new club willing to match his salary expectations.
With £18m to spend after the sale of Darren Bent, Sunderland was an obvious destination, but chairman Niall Quinn has ruled out a move for his former international strike partner.
"Robbie works well off a big physical player, but we don't have that now, so Robbie doesn't quite suit us now."
This follows rapidly on from Birmingham refuting Keane's suggestion that the Blues' pursuit of him was nothing more than a publicity stunt.
According to Birmingham, they believed they had agreed terms with Spurs and had begun talks on personal terms with Keane.
"When you talk to a player's representatives, negotiations are in progress. As to what happened after that, I can only refer back to the statement the club issued," a Birmingham spokesperson said.
Bent's move to Villa ended any lingering thoughts Keane might have had of a move to the English Midlands, and his options now seem to have been reduced to either West Ham United or Fulham.