Newcastle United's failure to land Luka Modric ahead of Tottenham is being blamed for sparking Kevin Keegan's clash with club owner Mike Ashley last week.

The Mail on Sunday says Keegan's amazing live television outburst after the defeat against Chelsea was the club's failure to land the brilliant £17 million Croatia player Modric, who could be one of the stars of Euro 2008 before heading off to Tottenham rather than Tyneside.

Having missed out on Jonathan Woodgate to Spurs in January, this was even more galling. And there is talk that a third, unnamed Keegan target also prefers White Hart Lane - a team not significantly ahead of Newcastle in the Premier League table.