Hughton stokes talk of Newcastle switch for Robbie
ROBBIE KEANE could be on the way to Newcastle before the close of the transfer window to link up again with Chris Hughton.
The Toon boss, who worked with Keane with both Spurs and Ireland, did little to quell speculation of a £6m move when pressed on the matter yesterday.
"His name has been mentioned and that is what we would expect at this stage," said Hughton. "We are close to the end of the transfer window."
"He is, though, a player who I know very well. There is an association there and a connection."
An initial loan switch has been mooted for the well-travelled Keane, who is surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane.
The Tallaght man was happy to move back to London after his short-lived stint with Liverpool, and it's unclear whether relocation to the North East would appeal to Ireland's record goalscorer.
Another potential stumbling block is his £70,000-a-week pay packet, which other clubs would find difficult to match.
However, he is keen to secure regular football, with Harry Redknapp open to offers for the 30-year-old. Earlier this week, he was linked with West Ham, as a possible makeweight in a deal to bring Scott Parker to Spurs.
Another Irish striker on the move is Anthony Stokes, who is set to join Celtic once they can agree a fee with Hibs. The Dubliner turned down the Glasgow club three years ago, when he took a better contract offer from Sunderland on his permanent departure from Arsenal.
Another prolific stint in Scotland with Hibs has brought him back onto Celtic's radar, and it's understood that they made their interest clear at the end of last season.
Manager Neil Lennon needed to trim his squad to raise funds, and the £9.5m exit of Aiden McGeady has given him some spending power.
That prompted a renewed effort to capture Stokes for a fee in the region of £1m. "He is an option and a player we like," said Lennon.
Hibs manager John Hughes is planning to use the 22-year old in tomorrow's SPL clash with St Mirren, but acknowledged his future is up in the air.
"I know there has been interest, but I told him 'you just keep your focus on Sunday's game'," said Hughes.
Stokes will be on U-21 duty with Ireland next week though, after falling behind Cillian Sheridan -- who left Celtic to join CSKA Sofia a fortnight ago -- in the senior pecking order.
Sheridan has been promoted into the senior squad for next week's Euro 2012 qualifier in Armenia.
Giovanni Trapattoni named just three forwards in his original squad -- Keane, Kevin Doyle and Shane Long -- and with all three having missed games this season through injury, he has decided to draft in Sheridan to provide extra cover.
The Cavan man started the recent friendly defeat to Argentina when Doyle was a late pull-out due to a calf problem.