Newcastle denied media reports that it fired manager Kevin Keegan and said it wants him to remain at the Premier League soccer club.

Keegan, in his second spell in charge of the northeast England team, "raised a number of issues" during talks Monday and Tuesday, Newcastle said in a statement without disclosing details. There's been U.K. media speculation he disagreed with the club hierarchy over player-transfer policy.

While Newcastle said it wants him to stay, it did not expressly say he will remain. Asked whether Keegan will continue, Newcastle spokesman Mark Hannen said he could not make any comment beyond the contents of the statement.

"The club wants to keep progressing with its long-term strategy and would like to stress that Kevin is extremely important, both now and in the future," Newcastle said. "For the avoidance of doubt, the club has not sacked Kevin Keegan as manager."

The team added that it "wants him to continue to play an instrumental role as manager." Keegan wanted to strengthen his squad, yet was told that anyone could be sold at the right price, the Daily Mail reported today. It said his loyalty to Joey Barton was another sticking point with owner Mike Ashley, who wants to get rid of the player who recently was released from prison.

Keegan was also unhappy when Newcastle sold winger James Milner, a regular in the team, to Aston Villa last week after he handed in a transfer request, the Daily Mail reported.

New Players

Newcastle yesterday added Spain Under-21 striker Xisco and acquired Uruguayan midfielder Ignacio Gonzalez on loan to add to the arrivals of Argentine players Jonas Gutierrez and Fabricio Coloccini, and Liverpool midfielder Danny Guthrie.

Keegan returned to Newcastle as coach in January—11 1/2 years after leading the club to runner-up spot in the Premier League. The 57-year-old, who had been without a coaching role since leaving Manchester City in March 2005, replaced Sam Allardyce, who was fired after less than eight months in charge.

Keegan was hailed by the club at the time as "King Kev" but has struggled to revive one of the best-supported clubs in England, which last won a major trophy in 1969. Newcastle finished 12th in the Premier League last season and stands 11th in the current campaign, with four points from three games.

City delivers on promise

Manchester City's new owner Monday promised to bring the best players to the Premier League soccer club. Within hours, Brazil's Robinho signed for what may be the highest fee in U.K. soccer history.

"This is a real statement of intent as to the ambitions of Manchester City," team manager Mark Hughes said on City's Web site. "To compete with the best teams in the Premier League we have to be in the market for players of this caliber."

City, which last won a major soccer trophy in 1976, completed the acquisition from Real Madrid with minutes to spare before the deadline for transfers. In doing so, new owner — Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment — usurped Chelsea's bid for the forward and overshadowed Dimitar Berbatov's move to crosstown rival Manchester United.

City agreed to pay Madrid 42 million euros ($61.2 million) for Robinho, who will receive 6 million euros a year after tax, according to Sky Sports. Real didn't initially disclose the fee.

The deal was sealed hours after Thaksin Shinawatra agreed to sell the team to the Abu Dhabi investment company. It also came a day after Robinho, 24, held a press conference stating his desire to join Chelsea, the runner-up to Manchester United in the Premier League and Europe's Champions League last season.

Gustav wreaks havoc

The World Cup qualifying match between Jamaica and Mexico scheduled for Saturday has been moved because of damage caused in the Caribbean by Hurricane Gustav, FIFA said Tuesday.

The two countries will play at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City instead of the Jamaican capital of Kingston.

The return match scheduled for Oct. 11 in Mexico City will now be played at Jamaica's National Stadium.

Jamaica and Mexico are drawn with Canada and Honduras in Group 2 of the third stage of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. The winner and runner-up in each group will go forward to the fourth stage.

A soccer riot in Italy

Government and sports officials reacted with outrage Monday after the opening weekend of the Italian soccer season was marred by Napoli fans rioting on a train to Rome.

A group of several hundred Napoli supporters launched firecrackers, broke windows, slashed seats open and caused $730,000 worth of damage to the train Sunday, Italian media reported. Rome's transport agency said some of its buses were also vandalized, causing $88,000 in damage.

At least four railway workers were injured, reports said, and more violence erupted when the train reached Rome for the AS Roma-Napoli game, which ended 1-1. Rome police reported five arrests near the stadium.

Italian soccer federation president Giancarlo Abete called for serious measures "against these delinquents who ruin the image of soccer on a national and international level. ... Soccer is not represented by these people."

Napoli fans may be barred from away games for the rest of the season.