CELTIC completed the most startling move of the final day of the transfer window when they signed Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane on loan from Tottenham for the rest of the season on a reported salary of £70,000 per week.
• Robbie Keane celebrates after scoring for the Republic of Ireland in Jackie McNamara's testimonial at Celtic Park in 2005 Picture: SNS
The 29-year-old striker, who has commanded transfer fees totalling around 75million in his career, travelled to Glasgow last night as the Parkhead club wrapped up a suitably frenetic final day of manager Tony Mowbray's radical month-long reshaping of his first-team squad.
The deal is understood to have been funded by Celtic's major shareholder Dermot Desmond. It is the Parkhead club's highest-profile move in the transfer market since Roy Keane joined them from Manchester United four years ago.
Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell said: "We've been pretty persistent in the last few windows in terms of keeping in touch with what he was wanting to do.
"Thankfully, today, we were able to do a deal.
"We've known for a while that Robbie is a Celtic supporter and he has a great connection with the club and our supporters.
"Up until today, things were not looking very great at all. Things changed this afternoon and we were able to put a deal in very quickly. His situation at Spurs was made, I think, pretty plain to him. He always knew we were very, very keen to get him."
Lawwell said there was no specific option to make the move permanent but did not rule out doing just that in the summer.
He added: "What we find is that players that come to Celtic very rarely want to leave."
Lawwell denied the signing was merely a ploy to appease disgruntled supporters.
"We're in a transitional period at the moment," he said.
"Tony probably wasn't blessed with the strongest squad we've had here when he arrived.
"We were always looking to bring in quality, our supporters do deserve the best and that's what we do at Celtic."
Earlier in the day, Celtic secured five-month loan deals for Fulham striker Diomansy Kamara and Bayern Munich left-back Edson Braafheid and recruited teenage winger Paul Slane from Motherwell for a nominal fee.
That took Mowbray's tally of recruits since the transfer window opened on 1 January to eight players following the arrivals of Ki Sung Yueng, Jos Hooiveld, Thomas Rogne and Morten Rasmussen. The overhaul of personnel also saw Scott McDonald become the eighth player shipped out by the manager when the Australian striker completed a 3.5 million move to Middlesbrough just before English football's 5pm deadline. McDonald followed Gary Caldwell, Barry Robson, Chris Killen, Willo Flood, Danny Fox, Stephen McManus and Mark Brown out of the door. Celtic's flurry of activity was in sharp contract to rivals and SPL leaders Rangers with mooted attempts by the Ibrox club to make a loan signing yesterday failing to materialise. With the SFA having extended the cut-off point to midnight for Scottish clubs, it allowed Celtic time to finalise their move for Keane. Although Keane has regularly been linked with moves to boyhood heroes Celtic in the past, last night's developments came as a considerable surprise.
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp's recent loan signing of Eidur Gudjohnsen from Monaco had pushed Keane further down the striking pecking order at White Hart Lane where he was already behind Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko. But while there was no shortage of interest in Keane from other English Premier League clubs, his salary demands were seen as an obstacle to any moves.
West Ham United were among those interested but their new co-owner David Sullivan said: "We simply can't afford Robbie Keane. It would have worked out at 105,000 a week for the rest of this season as well as a transfer fee. We simply cannot afford it."
With 43 goals in 95 games for the Republic of Ireland and almost 200 goals in a club career which has seen service with Wolves, Coventry, Inter Milan, Leeds United, Tottenham and Liverpool, Keane has earned his reputation as one of the most accomplished strikers in England.
"It's a good move for Robbie," said Redknapp. "He needs to play. He is too good a player not to be starting here regularly. He wants to play all the time. To go to Celtic is a dream come true for him. He is a big Celtic man. For the Irish lads, it is in their blood and they dream of playing for Celtic one day. This is something he wants to do and we didn't want to stand in his way."
Earlier in the day, Celtic unveiled Braafheid and Kamara at their Lennoxtown training centre. Dutch international Braafheid only moved to Bayern Munich from Twente Enschede last summer but his failure to hold down a first team slot with the Bavarian giants prompted the 26-year-old to seek a loan move in order to secure his place in his country's World Cup squad. "It wasn't a deal we were looking for," said Mowbray, "but when the opportunity came around to sign Edson, we looked at it. I had seen him playing for Twente against Manchester City last season. He then got his move to Bayern.
"When we sold Danny Fox last week, I said we had no intention of signing another left-back and I wouldn't tell you lies. But this was just too good to turn down. Time will tell, but he has pedigree."
Senegalese international striker Kamara previously played under Mowbray at West Brom and the 29-year-old's move has the option of a permanent deal in the summer.
"Diomansy is high quality," said Mowbray. "Let's hope he can enjoy his time here, but he will do that by winning. I spent a season working with him at West Brom and he was a shining light in that team. His enthusiasm to want to play is inspiring to others."