Keane is eyeing the Tottenham exit door -- Trapattoni
ROBBIE Keane could leave Tottenham Hotspur before the beginning of the Premier League season, with Giovanni Trapattoni yesterday revealing that the Ireland striker is considering his future at White Hart Lane.
The Ireland manager also hinted that Keane's absence from Spurs' friendly victory over Benfica on Tuesday night was not due a knee injury, but instead down to his precarious situation at the north London club.
Speculation has been growing over the Tallaght man's future in recent days after he was left out of Harry Redknapp's squad for the trip to Portugal, having won Player of the Tournament at a pre-season event in the USA in July.
Spurs announced that the 30-year-old was struggling with a mystery knee injury, but Trapattoni yesterday suggested that Keane has not been seriously injured and is instead mulling over his options.
"Robbie is not injured, at the moment he is looking at his position in Tottenham. I think we have the news that it is not an injury," said the Italian yesterday at the FAI's announcement of a sponsorship deal with '3'.
Ireland's record goalscorer has -- not for the first time in his career -- featured regularly in the transfer gossip pages throughout the summer.
Newcastle United -- who are yet to make any big-name signings ahead of their return to the top flight -- have been touted as possible suitors, as have Fulham, who are now expected to delve into the transfer market, having secured Mark Hughes as Roy Hodgson's successor.
Aston Villa have also been linked with Keane, but their transfer activity is still hinging on the potential sale of midfielder James Milner to Manchester City.
Trapattoni is unsure whether a move away from Tottenham would be the best thing for Keane, but believes the Dubliner's disastrous move to Liverpool in 2008 will stand to him as he considers his future.
"I don't know (if a move is the best thing for him) but Robbie is not young. (Two years ago) he tried moving to Liverpool -- Celtic was different as it was a loan.
"He has the Liverpool experience and now he can decide better," said the Italian.
"At this moment, the manager needs to decide, 'I will sell him, not loan him'.
"It's important also that (Keane) decides whether to go or to stay and try to play (for Tottenham)."
Spurs boss Redknapp has recently insisted that Keane could play a big part in his plans for the coming season, despite loaning the former Leeds United and Inter Milan striker to Celtic for the second half of the last campaign.
"His situation is that he is still a very good player," said the Spurs manager after Keane produced another star performance at the New York Challenge tournament in the USA last month.
"He is one of our better players. I cannot say for certain that he will stay because who knows what can happen in football, but at the moment I see him as part of our team.
"There is every chance he could start the season, but if it does not work out, he will be one of the first ones to come and tell me he needs to play somewhere."
But, with the partnership of English interntionals Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch's taking preference as Redknapp's favoured attacking option last season, it is unlikely that Keane would be willing to stay at this stage of his career if he can't be guaranteed first-team football.
Despite a successful loan spell at Celtic last season, Redknapp also recently ruled out the possibility of sending Keane out on loan for a second time, with reports suggesting that Spurs would be willing to listen to offers of around £5m for the Irish skipper. "I wouldn't think that's a possibility no, because we paid good money for him and to loan him out again, it wouldn't be a goer," said Redknapp.