Harry Redknapp confirms interest in Ashley Cole, Robbie Keane, Stewart Downing for Birmingham

Ashley Cole and Robbie Keane
Image: Ashley Cole and Robbie Keane have been playing for LA Galaxy

Birmingham boss Harry Redknapp has confirmed his interest in Ashley Cole, Robbie Keane and Stewart Downing to Sky Sports News HQ.

Redknapp is hoping to sign the veteran trio as he looks to turn Birmingham, who were almost relegated last season, into top-six contenders in the Sky Bet Championship.

Cole and Keane have been playing in MLS while Downing is available on a free transfer from relegated Middlesbrough - and Redknapp insists that, although they are all into their mid-30s, they are not "over the hill".

Craig Gardner (left) has completed a permanent return to Birmingham City
Image: Harry Redknapp kept Birmingham City up in the Championship last year

"Ashley Cole, for me, was best left-back in the world a few years ago. He was just a fantastic player," Redknapp told Sky Sports News HQ.

"He's out in America. I don't know what Ashley's plans are. His name was mentioned to me. When you have a chance to get someone like him, if he's available, he has to be of interest.

"Stewart Downing is a proper player, got a great left foot, he's fit as a fiddle. Whether we could afford him I don't know. Wage-wise I don't know where we would go with it, I haven't got a clue what he earns, and he belongs to Middlesbrough, but I think they've said he can go on a free, so he's of interest.

"Robbie Keane is a proper player; a great professional and infectious character. He's a great trainer. He would be wonderful around the dressing room, showing people how you become a top-class pro for so many years.

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Stewart Downing challenges Steve Mandanda during the Premier League match between Middlesbrough and Crystal Palace
Image: Stewart Downing is also of interest to Harry Redknapp at Birmingham

"He knows he wouldn't play every week but just to have him around... I'm sure he'd fight tooth and nail to get a regular place in the team. They're all interesting but till you speak to them, you don't know.

"They're not over the hill. I went to Portsmouth in the same sort of situation. I went there and took Paul Merson, Steve Stone, Tim Sherwood - all fantastic professionals. They were proper blokes, proper men and we won the league. You want them to blend in with the younger ones.

"My ambition is for us to be in the top group this year, at least make the play-offs. Anything other than that wouldn't be a success for me. But to do that you need good players."

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