ROY Keane returned to his roots on the west coast of Ireland yesterday but any thoughts that the Sunderland manager would be putting his club commitments to one side for the day were ended when El Hadji Diouf became the Black Cats fifth signing of the summer.
After bringing Spurs pair Pascal Chimbonda and Teemu Tainio to the Stadium of Light, along with squad players David Meyler from Cork City and Ipswich goalkeeper Nick Colgan, Keane secured the £2.5m capture of the Senegal international and last night admitted he hopes to bring in five further players.
He is still interested in Spurs’ Steed Malbranque and Younes Kaboul and expects answers from both today.
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But he admitted to consternation that other managers are talking about the Tottenham players despite Sunderland being the only club to have agreed fees.
Diouf was at the Academy of Light yesterday to finalise the move from Bolton Wanderers, agreeing a four-year deal with the Black Cats after completing a medical.
Controversy has followed Diouf since he signed for Liverpool from Lens for £10m in the summer of 2002.
He was fined £5,000 by the Glasgow Sheriff Court after spitting at a Celtic fan during a UEFA Cup game at Celtic Park.
And in 2005 he admitted to using disorderly behaviour at Teesside Magistrates after an incident at Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium when he spat out water in the direction of an 11-year-old boy, but evidence showed he had not intended to hit anyone.
Those indiscretions appear not to worry Keane who said last night: “El Hadji is a great signing for us and we’re thrilled to get him in.
“He has bags of Premier League and international experience, which is exactly what we’ve been targeting this summer.
“El Hadji has always been the kind of player opposition teams and supporters love to hate, a thorn in the side, and that’s why we’re delighted to now have him in our squad.
“I’ve learned not to listen to what people say about players and if you have ambitions to be a top manager you have to handle different players and different types of characters.
“Our coach, Ricky Sbragia, has also worked very closely with him and speaks extremely highly of him, so we’re looking forward to working with El Hadji, I think he’s a signing that will excite our supporters.”
The knee injury to Kenwyne Jones, who could miss most of the first half of the season, has made Keane’s pursuit of a striker all the more pressing.
Keane last denied being interested or making a bid for Manchester United striker Louis Saha, but is desperate to bring a proven striker to the club.
One player who has already made the move to Wearside is Chimbonda, who signed a three-year deal on Saturday.
The 29-year-old insisted he had no hesitation in joining the club, believing apart from the big four in the Premier League every other team is as good as each other.
“Apart from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool every club is the same – nobody is bigger,” said Chimbonda.
“The aim is to stay in the Premier League but I know the manager want to progress, play football and win games and hopefully that will happen.”
■ Sunderland midfielder Dickson Etuhu is wanted by Rangers with Walter Smith expected to table an official bid for the former Norwich City man in the next 48 hours.