Football: New contract talks for Keane

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The Independent Online
SIR ALEX FERGUSON is optimistic that Roy Keane will have committed his future to Manchester United by the end of the week. The 27-year-old Republic of Ireland midfielder and his advisor, the solicitor Michael Kennedy, will hold talks with United's chairman, Martin Edwards and financial director, Maurice Watkins, who flew back from Hong Kong yesterday.

Ferguson, who has ruled Keane out of his plans for Sunday's Charity Shield match against Arsenal because of an ankle injury, said: "I am very hopeful that something can be sorted out because no one at this club wants to see a player like Roy leaving Old Trafford."

Frank Lampard has committed himself to West Ham until the year 2005 after finally signing an extension to his contract. The England Under-21 midfielder was delighted the talks were over, and said: "There was never a question of leaving the club, it was just getting it right."

Bryan Robson's hopes of bringing Leonardo to Middlesbrough have ended. Boro's chief executive, Keith Lamb, confirmed that the club had held preliminary discussions with Milan regarding the Brazilian midfielder and his team- mate Christian Ziege, but Milan's vice-president, Adriano Galliani, said: "Leonardo will stay with Milan. It is official."

Robson will step up his pursuit of the German international wing-back Ziege, who has apparently been made aware of Boro's interest.

John Barnes wants to sign Dominic Matteo, his former Liverpool team-mate, to solve Celtic's problem left-back position. Barnes will offer Liverpool pounds 2.6m for the skilful defender, whom he saw develop at Anfield.

The versatile Matteo, born in Scotland but capped by England, has suffered in the past from being switched around in the Liverpool side but now he could settle down as a left-back. He is one of a handful of home-grown players left in the Liverpool side since Gerard Houllier's summer revolution and he cannot be sure that he figures in the manager's plans.

Barnes, who has also expressed an interest in Sheffield United's left- back Wayne Quinn, has warned Stephane Mahe, the current Celtic left-back, to improve his disciplinary record. The Frenchman was involved in a confrontation with the referee Hugh Dallas during an Old Firm match last season.

Aberdeen dropped their interest in Alan Kelly after the Sheffield United goalkeeper failed to appear for talks. The Republic of Ireland international was due at Pittodrie yesterday day but failed to turn up.

Rob Steiner, the Bradford striker who was on loan at Queen's Park Rangers last season, has completed a pounds 215,000 move to the First Division club.

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