TOTTENHAM are prepared to dispense with Robbie Keane as a makeweight in a deal to bring Scott Parker to White Hart Lane.
It has emerged that Spurs made a bid of Keane plus an additional £2m in an attempt to convince West Ham to part with their skipper.
The bid was flatly rejected by West Ham yesterday, but it has opened the way for negotiations to continue over the Ireland skipper and there were fresh hopes last night that a deal could finally be struck.
West Ham have been chasing Keane throughout the January transfer window and had hoped that having ceded to Spurs' demands of a £1m loan fee plus a permanent £6m transfer deal in the summer -- should they avoid relegation -- that the move would go ahead.
However, it is understood that Spurs will now only consider a 'normal' permanent deal for Keane.
If the striker stays at Spurs, he might not even make the bench for the remainder of the season, a potentially embarrassing fall from grace for Ireland's record goalscorer, who has been told to move by Giovanni Trapattoni or else risk falling out of international favour.
West Ham do not want to commit to a permanent deal, given the real fear that they might be relegated this season. Given that Keane also commands wages of £65,000 a week, then West Ham do not want to make such a financial commitment for a 30-year-old who would have little resale value.
However, West Ham also believe that Keane would make a significant difference to their team and could prove to be the kind of talismanic figure who scores the goals to guide them away from relegation.
It is understood that talks were ongoing last night, with a compromise possible over the transfer fee if West Ham remain in the Premier League.
Crucially, Keane is believed to want to ensure the deal goes through, having initially asked for a £1m bonus if he helped West Ham avoid relegation.
That demand is believed to be no longer in place partly because, despite ongoing interest from Birmingham City, there have been no other bids for Keane.
According to negotiators involved in the deal, the two clubs are now just £1m apart in their offers.
Spurs have long pursued Parker, but West Ham are insistent that the midfielder, who agreed a new contract earlier this season, is not for sale and were exasperated by the attempts to bring him into negotiations.
There was frustration yesterday at Spurs' offer, given the stance taken over Parker, whose situation is non-negotiable. The bid effectively values Parker at just £8m. (© Daily Telegraph, London)