Keane arrives as Huckerby departs

 

Robbie Keane went through the formalities of his medical examination at Elland Road yesterday following his putative u12 £12 million transfer from Inter Milan and as he did so the inevitable corollary to his arrival began with the imminent departure of Darren Huckerby to Celtic.

Huckerby, who cost Leeds £4 million when he was signed from Coventry City in August of last year, is expected in Glasgow this morning. The fee is again £4 million and according to a Leeds spokesman last night, the transfer has been agreed at board level by both clubs. Whether the Huckerby deal can be completed in time for him to be available to Martin O'Neill for Celtic's trip to St Mirren tomorrow is uncertain but Huckerby should be part of the Celtic squad for the visit to Tannadice next Tuesday.

After Chris Sutton, Joos Valgaeren, Didier Agathe, Alan Thompson, Robert Douglas, Neil Lennon and Ramon Vega, Huckerby becomes O'Neill's eighth signing in six months and takes the Celtic manager's spending over the £20 million figure.

Huckerby has been David O'Leary's least impressive signing perhaps, but must be hopeful of a transformation under the eye of O'Neill. The deal is a clear signal that Celtic want to win this season's Scottish title and then launch a serious challenge in next season's Champions League.

Keane, meanwhile, will accompany O'Leary at a press conference at Elland Road this afternoon, providing the overnight tests prove acceptable to Leeds, although the 20-year-old Dubliner yesterday gave an insight into why he chose to leave Italy for Yorkshire.

"I have mixed emotions," said Keane. "When I joined Inter Milan in July I thought I would be spending some years in Italy. I have settled well over there and was learning the language and had made a number of friends. But the most important thing was that I had only been picked for half of the Serie A games and, as any footballer will tell you, playing is everything.

"Last week Inter officials told me that there had been a lot of interest from Premiership clubs and indicated they would be considering offers. They asked me which team I would join if I had a choice and I told them it would be Leeds.

"I have a lot of friends at Elland Road and I have heard from them what a fantastic spirit David O'Leary has created. I want to have the best possible football career and I know that moving to Leeds will help me achieve this."