Keane linked with a return to Tottenham

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The Independent Online

Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has signed Carlo Cudicini and Pascal Chimbonda - and has put the ball in Liverpool's court over Robbie Keane.

Cudicini has been given a free transfer from Chelsea and could make his debut against Stoke tomorrow evening as first-choice goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes has a thigh strain.

Chimbonda was not registered in time to face Tony Pulis' men in the Barclays Premier League clash at White Hart Lane, but he will be available at the weekend after following Jermain Defoe as the second player to rejoin Spurs this month.

Another who left Spurs in the last year was Robbie Keane, who has struggled to make an impact at Anfield and was not in the squad for the FA Cup clash against Everton at the weekend.

"I wouldn't sit here and say I wouldn't like to have Robbie Keane at my football club, I'd be a liar, but he belongs to Liverpool so it is not an option unfortunately," Redknapp said.

"As a player and a person I have a lot of time for Robbie Keane. I think he's fantastic."

Keane's omission fuelled concerns about his future, although Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez has previously stated there will be no departures in the current transfer window.

Redknapp is in the market for another striker and has pursued Sunderland's Kenwyne Jones and is monitoring Fred's situation at French side Lyon.

Spurs have been criticised by Sunderland boss Ricky Sbragia for the manner of their approach for Jones, although Redknapp has pointed out that there has been continued dialogue between his chairman Daniel Levy and Black Cats counterpart Niall Quinn.

"The chairman tried to do a deal and spoke to Niall Quinn quite a few times," Redknapp said. "They only have to say, 'He's not for sale'. That is all anyone ever has to say."

The deal for Chimbonda was smoother.

The 29-year-old French full-back angered fans last season when he stormed down the tunnel after being substituted during the Carling Cup final and there are no plans to present him to fans ahead of the Stoke game.

Chimbonda, who cannot atone for his actions at this season's final as he is cup-tied for the showpiece against Manchester United, will offer Redknapp cover across his defence.

"I've signed him and he's coming here," Redknapp said.

"The deal should have been done in the morning but it's over-run the deadline for him to play against Stoke - it was done 15 minutes too late which was disappointing. Otherwise he would have been available.

"He plays with energy and gets forward as an attacking full-back. He was excellent for Sunderland on Saturday at centre-back so he can play right across the back four.

"He's a player I liked before. I tried to get him when he was at Wigan and then when he was at Tottenham I think Chelsea came in for him at one point."

Cudicini, meanwhile, will cover for Gomes and push the Brazilian for a first-team place.

"We're well pleased to have him," Redknapp said. "He gives us great experience. We're in a position where Gomes is still carrying an injury and can't kick, which is a big problem for a keeper."

Gomes is a doubt to face Stoke, while Jermaine Jenas (calf) and Darren Bent (groin) are only just back training.

Alan Hutton (foot), Ledley King (hamstring) and Jamie O'Hara (hip) are out, while Aaron Lennon (groin), Jonathan Woodgate (back) and Luka Modric (back/hamstring) are carrying knocks but may play.

"It's an important game," said Redknapp, whose side will start the game in 16th place. "You can pull yourself out with couple of results."

Meanwhile, the Football League have released a statement following questions surrounding Defoe's eligibility for the Carling Cup semi-final against Burnley, having joined midway through the tie.

"The Football League can confirm that Tottenham player Jermaine Defoe was eligible to play in last Wednesday's Carling Cup semi-final against Burnley," it read.

"There are no rules preventing a player not registered in time for the first leg from playing in the second leg."

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