x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Removal men hard to come by in Premier League

Babel and Keane reluctant to leave while Cole is staying put at West Ham after Liverpool fail in last-ditch bid to sign striker.

Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur suffered a blow to their respective European and Premier League hopes last night when they both failed to sign a striker before the transfer window closed. Liverpool's late move for Carlton Cole, the West Ham United and England striker, broke down because Ryan Babel, the Anfield striker, refused to move in part exchange to the Hammers, insisting he wanted to remain on Merseyside and fight for a place in Roy Hodgson's squad.

West Ham were prepared to sell Cole but Liverpool's late move for the 26-year-old would have left them little time to find a suitable replacement and they were not prepared to leave themselves without a forward of international quality after making their worst start to a season in the top flight for 33 years. Karen Brady, West Ham's managing director, vetoed the deal to sell Cole once it became clear Babel would not agree to join the Hammers, even though manager Avram Grant and at least one of the club's joint owners, David Sullivan and David Gold, felt a deal to sell Cole should be considered. But the parties ran out of negotiating time before the window closed at 9pm.

Liverpool did complete the signing of Paul Konchesky, the left-back, from Fulham, but Hodgson, the manager, may be left to rue the fact that the club failed to act swiftly once it became clear Javier Mascherano was always going to leave the club. The Argentine midfielder made it clear he wanted to leave Anfield after the World Cup in July but Liverpool only concluded a deal with Barcelona on Sunday, leaving them very little time to spend the £20 million (Dh112,974m) the club received for the holding midfielder.

As for Tottenham, the policy of the club's board not to break their wage structure or pay what they considered inflated transfer fees meant that they failed to secure any of the three targets Harry Redknapp, the manager, had indentified to launch an assualt on the top-four places in the Premier League and progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League. West Ham were prepared to sell Scott Parker, their captain, but Tottenham's final £9m cash offer for the midfielder fell well short of the east London club's £13m valuation.

A deal still could have been agreed had Robbie Keane agreed to move to Upton Park from Spurs as part of the deal but the Republic of Ireland striker refused to join the Hammers or indeed Newcastle United or Aston Villa. Keane's reluctance to move to Villa also put paid to Spurs' hopes of signing Ashley Young. It is understood that once Keane became aware that Tottenham would not match Sevilla's £25m fee or the wage demands of Luis Fabiano, the Brazil striker, or agree a deal with AC Milan for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar from AC Milan, he decided he would not be forced out of Spurs. Keane saw no reason to pass up the chance of Champions League football with Spurs this season.

Keane, who scored four goals in pre-season, appears determined to prove to Redknapp he still has a part to play at White Hart Lane this season. Redknapp has been a long-term admirer of Fabiano but he was relucant to pay such a huge fee for player who turns 30 in November. Fabiano ended speculation over his future by agreeing a two-year contract extension that should keep him at Sevilla until 2013.

Fabiano has been a mainstay of Sevilla's attack since arriving from FC Porto in 2005, and helped the Andalucian club to two Uefa Cups and a European Supercup. Terms of the deal were not announced. Fabiano said: "It was another [summer] of speculation about me leaving but I'm happy to renew with Sevilla." sports@thenational.ae