Despite mounting speculation and reports by some in the UK press, Australia’s World Cup stars have remained at their respective English Premier League clubs, at the close of a frenzied trading period this morning.

The big focus of attention was on Harry Kewell, who according to some reports was about to sign with Tottenham Hotspur, after they expressed interest in the winger. There were rumours that Kewell was unhappy at the club, but his agent, Bernie Mandic, came out in the media and denied this. “There has never been a single word from anyone at Liverpool about Harry leaving,” he said.

At one stage it looked like Lucas Neill would become teammates with Kewell, as Liverpool made a last minute bid. Blackburn knocked it back, insisting that the star Australian defender was worth more after his impressive World Cup display. Neill is entering the last year of his contract, meaning that Blackburn risks getting nothing for him when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Perennial underachievers Newcastle were keen to secure the services of Australian captain Mark Viduka, following the retirement of star striker Alan Shearer, but Middlesbrough didn’t want to come to the party.

The big winners of the day was West Ham United after securing the services of Argentina World Cup stars Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano. West Ham manager Alan Pardew couldn’t contain his excitement. “It is a massive coup for us,” he said. “I’ve said all along that, while signing young English players remains very important to our transfer policy, I want to take this club forward and will get talent from wherever it is available.”

Peter Fray

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