Keane to stay at United for £50,000 a week

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Roy Keane will sign a record new deal to stay at Manchester United that will leave last season's treble winners with a financial headache.

Roy Keane will sign a record new deal to stay at Manchester United that will leave last season's treble winners with a financial headache.

The Irishman is ready to accept a contract worth around £50,000 a week for the next four years, giving him almost twice as much as his best-paid team- mates. The club's manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, has won an internal battle to persuade the board to break their pay structure and he now has the chance to move for leading foreign players.

Sir Alex has missed out in the past because the club's chairman, Martin Edwards, would not pay anyone over the odds. While Keane's re-signing takes United pay levels to a new scale of attraction in terms of bringing in players like Brazilian Rivaldo, it might also cause problems in the ranks.

David Beckham and Ryan Giggs might expect similar rises, while Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole could also be looking for a review of their deals as they all signed contracts within the old pay structure - which they were assured would remain until 2001.

Giggs is the closest to the exit door. He has one-and-a-half years to run on his deal and his agent, Harry Swales ,may open talks soon. Beckham could also be looking for an increase to match his status as one of the top players in the world. However his present deals runs until 2002.

United's attitude is that Keane is a special case. He could have left for nothing at the end of the season and cost even more money to replace. The bill for finding a suitable replacement could have been at least £10m in transfer fees plus a further £2m a year in signing-on fees and wages. The cost of keeping Keane is around £10m.

The club captain will make a further £1.5m from his testimonial year. This sum may be guaranteed in his contract, although the money will actually come from the fans. However, few of them will complain after lobbying loudly for Keane to stay.

Keane and the solicitor who represents him, Michael Kennedy, have negotiated strongly and cleverly. They turned down the previous "final offer" - around £32,000 a week - in July. Keane will be delighted to stay despite hinting that United had short-changed him in the past and warning that they would have to change their attitude. He is settled in Manchester with his family, who are not keen to move. But ultimately it was all down to cash - which United have come up with.

Over at Maine Road, Joe Royle has no money for new signings despite BSkyB's purchase of a stake in the club. However, Manchester City's debt burden has been all but eliminated after yesterday's special meeting of the club's shareholders endorsed the BSkyB deal and a new rights issue.

The Sky deal alone will swell City's coffers by £7.5m, rising to £11m depending on the club's success. The rights issue could bring in another £5m and the whole deal will virtually eliminate the £1m annual interest charges.

"It's a historic day for Manchester City," the City chairman said. "The interest charges we have been paying have been crippling the club. This is a marvellous deal with BSkyB television and they have been very supportive. We wanted our shareholders to come into the situation. They can buy into the rights issue at 90p as opposed to the price of virtually £1 which Sky will pay. It can only be good for the club's long-term future."

FOOTBALL'S LEADING EARNERS

EUROPE

11 Alessandro Del Piero (Juventus) £72,500 12 Steve McManaman (Real Madrid) £68,250 13 Patrick Kluivert (Barcelona) £60,500 14 Nicolas Anelka (Real Madrid) £58,500 15 Christian Vieri (Inter) £58,500 16 Ronaldo (Inter) £52,500 17 Juan Veron (Lazio) £50,000 18 Steffen Effenberg (Bayern Munich) £50,000 19 Krassimir Balakov (VfB Stuttgart) £50,000 10 Roy Keane (Man Utd) £50,000

Figures represent weekly wage

ENGLAND

1 Roy Keane (Man Utd) £50,000 2 Alan Shearer £42,000 3 Duncan Ferguson (both Newcastle) £42,000 4 Robbie Fowler (Liverpool) £32,000 5 Didier Deschamps (Chelsea) £30,000 6 Paul Ince (Mboro) £28,000 7 Paul Gascoigne (Mboro) £28,000 8 Dwight Yorke (Man Utd) £26,000 9 Mark Bosnich (Man Utd) £26,000 10 Marcel Desailly (Chelsea) £25,000

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