Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Keane's Waiting Game for Warnock

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Football: Keane's Waiting Game for Warnock

Article excerpt

Byline: By Stuart Rayner

ROY Keane is waiting on the outcome of the Lucas Neill saga before he can press on with his transfer plans.

A new left-back is high on the Sunderland manager's shopping list and, although Neill is not on it, the Australian's future will have a bearing on that of his top target, Stephen Warnock.

The 25-year-old defender has been told he can leave Liverpool for pounds 1.5m but the fact Neill is still a Blackburn Rovers player is dragging out the process. Rovers manager Mark Hughes made clear yesterday Neill would not be allowed to leave until a replacement had been signed, with Warnock one of his options.

Sunderland are left waiting for an answer from Warnock's club. If the reply is 'no' it will at least allow Keane to move on to other targets, such as Plymouth Argyle's Tony Capaldi, out of contract at the end of the season.

"We're hoping for maybe one or two more players but there's nothing imminent," Keane revealed. "We were looking at a certain player, we made inquiries about him and the club's not even got back to us - a fairly big club."

Reports yesterday suggesting West Ham United had agreed to sign Neill were quickly rubbished by Hughes but it seems the versatile defender would prefer a switch to Upton Park over a return to former club Liverpool. The more generous wages apparently on offer in the capital seem to be behind his enthusiasm for the relegation-threatened outfit.

With Neill's contract due to expire in the summer, would-be suitors are reluctant to pay over the odds. But West Ham's bargaining position is weakened by their perilous league standing and the fact they have plenty of money to spend.

They signed Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Calum Davenport yesterday and had a pounds 4m bid for Birmingham City's Matthew Upson turned down. Hughes has reportedly failed in a bid to land the Hammers' Paul Konchesky, increasing the chances of a move for Warnock.

Birmingham and Cardiff City are planning to test Keane's resolve to hold on to Stephen Elliott. …

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