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Captaincy tempts Keane back to Spurs as Benitez cuts Irish star adrift

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Just a face in the crowd - Robbie Keane was an interested observer at Sunday's Premier League game against Chelsea, but yesterday's move back to White Hart Lane will see him take a central role as captain

Just a face in the crowd - Robbie Keane was an interested observer at Sunday's Premier League game against Chelsea, but yesterday's move back to White Hart Lane will see him take a central role as captain

Just a face in the crowd - Robbie Keane was an interested observer at Sunday's Premier League game against Chelsea, but yesterday's move back to White Hart Lane will see him take a central role as captain

Irish skipper Robbie Keane made up his mind to return to Tottenham Hotspur after being offered the captaincy by Harry Redknapp. The Dubliner yesterday re-signed for Tottenham -- a mere 189 days after leaving White Hart Lane for Anfield.

Keane is tipped to be made the captain with Ledley King continuing in an honorary "club captain" role, and it is Keane who will get the armband in the long term. That was one of the key factors that convinced Keane to cut short his nightmare spell at Anfield after the clubs finally agreed a fee.

Both sides were privately claiming different sets of figures for the Keane deal. Sources at Spurs claim the deal is worth around £15m with add-ons payable providing they stay in the Premier League.

The Spurs manager would also have liked to sign Ricardo Quaresma (24) but the Inter Milan winger opted for Chelsea despite having had a difficult relationship with Luiz Felipe Scolari during the latter's time as Portugal coach.

On Merseyside, there was bemusement from Liverpool's feuding co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks that the club could contrive to make a considerable loss on Keane -- a striker who was signed in a deal worth £20.3m last summer. Gillett and Hicks were back at Anfield yesterday for a board meeting where they reluctantly approved the deal at Benitez's request.

There was incredulity at the club that Benitez would let Keane go without first signing a replacement -- a bid to sign Javier Saviola on loan from Real Madrid having fallen through.

Keane will be back in the Spurs team for the game against Arsenal on Sunday. Redknapp is eager to have a captain who plays more regularly than the injury-plagued King and sees Keane as the ideal figure, especially as the Tallaght native has already had plenty of experience in the role with the Londonders and Ireland.

The Spurs manager is known to be especially pleased with the role of his chairman, Daniel Levy, who has pushed hard to land Keane, as well as bringing back Jermain Defoe and Pascal Chimbonda during the transfer window.

Levy could not, however, push through a deal for Quaresma, who opted to sign for Chelsea having informally agreed to go to Spurs.

Inter had made enquiries about taking David Bentley and Jermaine Jenas on loan but Spurs rejected them. Quaresma (25) is a friend of Cristiano Ronaldo from their days together as trainees at Sporting Lisbon, and is an interesting choice for Scolari who left him out of Portugal's squads for Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup finals.

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Quaresma, who has 24 caps for Portugal, is a left-sided player whom Chelsea hope will give their manager more attacking options on the wing. Currently, Scolari is stuck with Salomon Kalou and the desperately ineffectual Florent Malouda, having lost Joe Cole to injury for the remainder of the season. Quaresma's history, however, suggests he is by no means a sure bet to succeed in England. (© Independent News Service)


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