Keane unlikely to make decision until next year

SPECULATION was rife about Roy Keane’s next career move yesterday as clubs queued up to sign him and odds shortened on him becoming Ireland’s new soccer manager.

But despite being linked to dozens of English, Scottish and Italian clubs yesterday, it is understood Keane, who sensationally departed from Manchester United on Friday after a glittering 12-year career, won’t be making any decisions until early in the new year.

The 34-year-old midfielder’s name was linked with clubs such as Celtic, Manchester City, AC Milan, Everton, Wigan, Bolton, Portsmouth, and Aston Villa. Keane was also linked to the Ireland manager’s job, and as a possible successor to Sir Alex Ferguson at United.

Paddy Power were taking bets on Celtic and AC Milan being the most likely to secure his services.

Betfair ranked Keane third favourite, behind Terry Venables and Kevin Keegan, to become the next Ireland manager.

Several thousand euro was traded on Betfair over the weekend on Keane at prices between 49-1 and 3-1. He was ranked 8-1 yesterday.

But Celtic and Manchester City seemed to emerge as the front runners in the chase for Keane following comments from the clubs. Manchester City manager Stuart Pearce said he wasn’t ruling out trying to persuade Keane to cross the divide and move to Eastlands. Pearce is a former team-mate at Nottingham Forest and is a confirmed admirer.

“I think this club would like to be associated with good players and Roy Keane falls into that category,” said Pearce, who spent three years with the tough-tackling midfielder at the City Ground in the early 1990s.

“Every club in the world at the moment has their name attached to Roy Keane. I think the fact we are in a city where he lives and works means we might be attached as well.

“We are certainly looking at players who might improve our team - we always are and always will be and Roy is a good player, one who can improve our team.

“He is a good player and that is borne out by the number of teams who have been associated with a player who has only been released by his club for a couple of days.”

Celtic chairman Brian Quinn said there had been no contact from Roy Keane about the possibility of him playing for the Bhoys.

“We would have to see what he is proposing, and indeed if he is looking for something at Celtic,” he said.

But he indicated the Scottish club would not be prepared to break their wages structure to sign him. Keane would have to be prepared to take an almost 60% pay cut from his £90,000-a-week pay packet at Old Trafford to play for Celtic.

“Although Roy talked a few weeks ago about leaving Manchester United and playing for another club, as far as I could see, the word Celtic did not pass his lips and I don’t know what is on his mind, so we will have to what he intended,” Quinn said.

Speculation:

Ireland on Sunday:

Roy Keane will end an amazing few days by agreeing to finish his playing career at Celtic.

Irish Daily Star:

Keane linked with a move to Barcelona.

Keane’s legal adviser, Michael Kennedy, declined to comment on specifics but confirmed there had been interest from Italian clubs.

News of the World:

Roy Keane last night vowed to return to Manchester United as manager after ending his playing career at Celtic.

It was reported that Keane has told “close friends” he will be back as manager of Manchester United after Ferguson’s departure.

Sunday Independent:

Phone poll survey shows 60% of Irish people do not want Keane to manage the Irish team.

While 67% of men don’t want him to get the job, 47% of polled women do.

Mail on Sunday:

Roy Keane will end one of the most turbulent weeks of his career by agreeing to finish his playing career at Celtic.

Sunday Mirror:

Celtic have emerged as clear favourites to sign Roy Keane following the Irishman’s sensational departure from Manchester United.

Sunday People:

Axed United skipper Roy Keane will make a quick decision about where his future lies... and Everton and Aston Villa are the new favourites to land him.

Daily Star Sunday:

Roy Keane has been gagged for a second time by Manchester United.

He has signed a confidentiality clause banning him from giving details of his departure from Old Trafford.

Sunday Express:

Roy Keane could turn down a move to Celtic for a tax-free £10 million deal in Qatar.

Sunday Times:

Roy Keane saw it coming, and long ago... sorrow not anger as the pair of winners (Ferguson and Keane) part.

The Observer:

Aston Villa, Bolton, Everton and West Brom head a long queue of clubs battling to secure Keane’s service.

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