Captaincy tempts Keane back to Tottenham fold

Striker returns to Spurs after being promised the armband in the long-term
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The Independent Football

Robbie Keane made up his mind to return to Tottenham Hotspur after being offered the captaincy by Harry Redknapp. As revealed by The Independent yesterday, the striker has re-signed for Tottenham who were last night beaten by Chelsea to the loan signing of Portugal international Ricardo Quaresma.

Keane is expected to be made the captain with Ledley King continuing in an honorary “club captain” role, although it is Keane who will get the armband in the long-term. That was one of the key factors that convinced Keane to cut short his spell at Liverpool after the clubs finally agreed a fee on Sunday night.

Both sides were privately claiming different sets of figures for the Keane deal, sources at Spurs claim the deal is worth around £15m with add-ons payable providing they stay in the Premier League. The Spurs manager would also have liked to sign Quaresma, 24, but the Internazionale winger opted for Chelsea despite having had a difficult relationship with Luiz Felipe Scolari during the latter’s time as Portugal coach.

In Liverpool, there was bemusement from Liverpool’s feuding co-owners co-owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks that the club could contrive to make a considerable loss on a player who was signed in a deal worth £20.3m in the summer. Gillett and Hicks were back at Anfield yesterday for a board meeting where they reluctantly approved the deal at Benitez’s request. There was incredulity at the club that Benitez would let Keane go having failed to sign a replacement, a bid to sign Javier Saviola on loan from Real Madrid having fallen through.

Keane will be back in the Spurs team for the game against Arsenal on Sunday. Redknapp is eager to have a captain who plays more regularly than the injury-plagued King and sees Keane as the ideal figure. The Spurs manager is known to be especially pleased with the role of his chairman Daniel Levy who has pushed hard to land Keane as well as bringing back Jermain Defoe and Pascal Chimbonda during the transfer window.

Last night Keane said: “It was a difficult decision to make to leave Tottenham in the summer. It proved not to be the right move for me. I know some Spurs fans will feel I let them down by leaving but I can assure them I shall be giving my all for this club - this club has terrific fans and I want to repay them for all their support. We've got to get on and fight our way up that league table."

Levy could not, however, push through a deal for Quaresma who opted to sign for Chelsea having informally agreed to come to Spurs. Internazionale had made enquiries about taking David Bentley and Jermaine Jenas on loan but Spurs rejected them. Quaresma, 25, is a friend of Cristiano Ronaldo from their days together as trainees at Sporting Lisbon, and is an interesting choice for Scolari who left him out of Portugal’s squads for Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup finals.

Quaresma, who has 24 caps for Portugal, is a left-sided player whom Chelsea hope will give their manager more attacking options on the wing. Currently, Scolari is stuck with Salomon Kalou and the desperately ineffectual Florent Malouda having lost Joe Cole to injury for the remainder of the season. Quaresma’s history suggests he is by no means a sure bet to succeed in the Premier League.

Quaresma is another client of the ubiquitous Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes who negotiated Scolari’s move to Chelsea last summer as well as Mourinho’s move there in 2004. Scolari’s relationship with Mendes, who also represents Ronaldo among others, will have been crucial in persuading the player to pick Chelsea ahead of Spurs.

Jose Mourinho considers Quaresma to be surplus to requirements at Internazionale and permitted him to join his former club. Mourinho, who spent a significant part of Internazionale’s resources on signing Quaresma, has complained about his attitude this season and is unlikely to have let the player go if he thought he would be a success at Chelsea.

Quaresma has a well-deserved reputation for having failed at clubs outside Portugal. He left Sporting to join Barcelona in 2003, the same summer that Ronaldo joined United, but struggled during his one year at the Spanish club. He rebuilt his career in four years at Porto and joined Internazionale in the summer in a deal worth £13m or him and the midfielder Pele - Vítor Hugo Gomes Passos – who is now on loan at Portsmouth. Quaresma’s form in Italy has been poor.

Quaresma comes from Portugal’s gypsy community and little in known aboyt his private life. He is close to his mother and his brother Alfredo and he counts Ronaldo among his friends but adapting to life in the Surrey stockbroker belt that is home to most of the Chelsea squad will prove a challenge. He is famous in Portigal for the “trivela” skill – striking the ball with the outside of his foot.

Fond of tattoos - of which he has many - and with a reputation as a rebel he is not a natural pick for Scolari. There was some debate about whether Quaresma was fit to play in Euro 2004 but Scolari left him out anyway. He did not pick the player for the World Cup finals two years after that although he did finally include him for the Euro 2008 finals. Quaresma started just one game, the dead rubber against Switzerland.

There was a long-standing agreement at Chelsea that Scolari would not be able to sign players in January despite selling Wayne Bridge for pnds12m and releasing Carlo Cudicini. However, the manager has assurances that he will be given funds in the summer, providing he is still in the job.

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