Higginbotham, who only joined Sunderland for £2.5 million a year ago, could be offloaded to either Wolves or Stoke.

"We paid good money for him and since then he has played more than 20 Premier League games," Keane told Setanta.

"Anyone who thinks his value has halved, has another think coming.

"He has done very well for us in pre-season, has looked good in training in the first few weeks of this season and he's a good squad player."