NEWCASTLE look like losing their battle to land Robbie Keane after the striker expressed a desire to remain in London and fight for his place at Tottenham Hotspur.

With the transfer window due to close at 6pm tomorrow, Magpies manager Chris Hughton had been hoping to pull off another considerable coup following confirmation of the capture of Hatem Ben Arfa ahead of Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Wolves.

An initial round of talks has taken place between officials at St James’ Park and Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy, with Newcastle proposing a one-year loan deal, with a view to a permanent transfer next summer.

However, having spent the second half of last season on loan at Scottish side Celtic, Keane is reluctant to make another temporary switch away from White Hart Lane.

The Republic of Ireland international is understood to be aware of Newcastle’s interest, as well as competing approaches from both Aston Villa and Celtic, but with Harry Redknapp struggling to sign a striker despite making a move for both Luis Fabiano and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Keane has told senior Spurs officials he would like to stay put this month.

The situation might change if he was offered a permanent move away from White Hart Lane in the next 48 hours, but Newcastle owner Mike Ashley will not be sanctioning a longterm move for the striker, who would command a transfer fee of more than £6m.

To further complicate matters, Keane will also insist Newcastle match the £65,000- a-week pay packet he currently receives at White Hart Lane.

While there is not a formal wage ceiling in place at St James’ Park, Ashley had been hoping to keep all new contracts to around half that figure.

There had been a strong desire to recruit Keane, and the Magpies had been willing to pay a loan fee of around £1m, but it now appears last week’s tentative talks were in vain.

Keane’s future has been the source of considerable conjecture all weekend, and sources in London claim the 30-year-old could yet be used as part of a Tottenham offer for Aston Villa winger Ashley Young.

Either way, it looks extremely unlikely that the Irishman will be a Newcastle player when the transfer window closes tomorrow.

Hughton will continue to monitor the situation, but if there is to be any more business on Tyneside in the final 48 hours of the window, it could well relate to the acquisition of a replacement leftback.

Jose Enrique remains the only orthodox left-back on the club’s books, and Manchester City youngster Greg Cunningham has emerged as a possible loan target.

“There’s nothing to say on Robbie Keane,” said Hughton, who will sanction Kazenga LuaLua’s four-month loan move to Brighton shortly. “I think we’re always pushing to add to the squad.

“There are still a couple of days to go, but if I was left with the squad I’ve got now, I would be happy.

“We’re still looking at players, and we’re most definitely still looking at left-back, but James Perch can play at leftback as well so we have cover.

It’s perhaps not naturally leftfooted cover, but we certainly have cover there.”

Ben Arfa was confirmed as Newcastle’s fifth signing of the summer on Saturday, with the Frenchman joining Perch, Dan Gosling, Sol Campbell and Cheik Tiote at St James’ Park.

Having been left out of France’s international squad, the midfielder will join his new team-mates today after completing a season-long loan from Marseille that will automatically turn into a permanent transfer worth around £5m if he makes 25 appearances this season.

Ben Arfa has spent the summer training with Marseille, and Hughton is confident he will be available against Blackpool on September 11 in a game that should also see Campbell appearing in a Newcastle squad for the first time.

“I’m delighted to sign Hatem Ben Arfa,” said the Magpies boss. “He’s a good player who can play in perhaps two or three positions, and he’ll be a very good addition for us. He’s an exciting player, an offensive player with wonderful ability.

“We’ll see if he’s up to speed for the Blackpool game. We’ll have a couple of weeks with him and see where he is from a fitness point of view, but I can’t imagine he’s too far away.”