West Ham show firm interest in move for Keane

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The Independent Online

West Ham have contacted Roy Keane's advisors and are ready to discuss terms with the former Manchester United captain should he decide on a move to London. Since Keane left Old Trafford a fortnight ago a number of clubs have expressed an interest in signing the 34-year-old - but none have gone as far as the Hammers in laying their cards on the table.

Teddy Sheringham has already urged his former United team-mate to join him in east London and the manager, Alan Pardew, has secured the support of the board. The Hammers are now waiting with fingers crossed that Keane decides against joining Celtic or moving overseas.

"We have made contact [ and indicated] we are interested. We would be delighted if someone like Roy Keane was available and interested in coming to West Ham United," said the assistant manager, Peter Grant. "We definitely hope it could happen. We would love the opportunity to speak to him and if he gave us the nod we would be in there for sure.

"The decision comes down to Roy and where he wants to play his football. Does he want to move to London? Does he want to move abroad? Does he want to move to Scotland? If he says he wants to go to Glasgow then it is a waste of time pursuing it because there is only one team he is going to play for.

"But if Roy decides he wants to come to London - then bang, we're in for him."

West Ham have decided against actively pursuing Keane and are happy to express their interest, work to prove Upton Park is the player's best option and then wait for the phone to ring.

Grant believes Keane would be a major asset as West Ham look to cement their position in the top half of the Premiership.

West Ham sit ninth, higher than many expected after they secured promotion through the play-offs, but they are an inexperienced squad. The likes of Yossi Benayoun, Anton Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon and Nigel Reo-Coker have impressed despite being in their debut Premiership seasons.

"The one thing Roy has got is a winning mentality and that is what we are striving for here," said Grant. "Alan said last week how highly we rate him. Someone like that would give the club a huge lift.

"People say things about his team spirit - but that comes down to the fact he wants to win games of football. I don't find that a fault in anybody. That mentality comes from Sir Alex Ferguson - second place is first loser - and that is why he has been so successful in his career. Roy has never accepted second best and we are trying to instil that in our players.

"We are looking to bring in quality players that are going to control a game when it is going away from you, like it did in the defeat to Manchester United on Sunday. We didn't have that somebody to put their foot on the ball and dictate the pace of the game.

"All we are trying to do between now and Christmas is to make sure we are as high up the table as we can possibly be so we can attract that type of player."

Pardew is taking advantage of West Ham's Monday night kick-off against Birmingham to go on a midweek scouting mission in Europe. The Hammers missed out on the strikers, Monaco's Emmanuel Adebayor and Porto's Benni McCarthy, and a forward remains Pardew's priority.

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