Friday 2 December 2016

Keane promises 'one last challenge' after LA departure

John Fallon

Published 19/11/2016 | 02:30

Despite dropping out of the top-10 best-paid players in the league, Keane will still be paid €3.3m in wages this year. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
Despite dropping out of the top-10 best-paid players in the league, Keane will still be paid €3.3m in wages this year. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE

In a year of farewells, Robbie Keane will have another swansong to add to his international departure by leaving LA Galaxy behind next month for "one last major challenge".

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At 36, news of the Tallaght man's sudden availability is unlikely to create the frisson of transfer excitement commonplace during his Premier League days but all the indications are for him to move elsewhere in the Major League Soccer stage and see out his career in the salubrious American setting he's inhabited since 2011.

The coincidental events of Keane (right) announcing his imminent exit from Galaxy upon the expiration of his contract and his former team-mate and friend Stephen McPhail taking ultimate control of player movement at Shamrock Rovers led to fanciful chatter of a Tallaght homecoming.

Nostalgia abounded throughout the day at the thought of a reunion too with Damien Duff, these days part of the Hoops' coaching staff.

Not so, according to the midfielder he played alongside for Leeds United and Ireland.

"I'd love to sign him, it would lovely, but it doesn't look that way," said McPhail.

"I haven't spoken to Rob for a while and it would be nice form him to be down here, playing at home in Tallaght.

"It looks like Robbie is United States-bound again. But you never know down the line."

Competing financially with rivals for his capture also renders the prospect a non-runner.

Despite dropping out of the top-10 best-paid players in the league, Keane will still be paid €3.3m in wages this year.

In the same week that his clubmate Steven Gerrard called time on his US sojourn, the Dubliner's news was hardly a surprise.

Both players were no longer guaranteed starters in Bruce Arena's side, persistent injuries playing a part in Keane's case, and the nature of the league's designated player system means the shelf-life of marquee signings eventually lapses.

Their decisions have been hastened by Galaxy's elimination from the MLS Cup two weeks ago at the hands of Kevin Doyle's Colorado Rapids,

Still, interest in acquiring the natural goalscorer is expected. Keane and his young family have enjoyed the Stateside lifestyle, ensuring the likes of Colorado and Toronto are likely to rekindle their desire to recruit Ireland's record goalscorer for the 2017 season.

Alternatively, Keane's completion of his UEFA 'A' licence recently may leave open to possibility of moving closer to home, possibly the English Championship, for a playing role with scope for transitioning into coaching.

"Winning the MLS Cup three times, scoring over 100 goals for the club, and being named as 2014 Most Valuable Player are all achievements that I will look back on with pride," said Keane(left).

"I believe that now is the right time for a new challenge as I look towards the next chapter of my playing career. I still feel as fit and sharp as ever and I am looking forward to my next adventure.

"Having now retired from international football I am ready to focus everything I have on one last major challenge in club football and will be taking time out to consider my options before announcing my next move."

Meaanwhile, Cork City have made their third new signing for the 2017 season by capturing Conor McCormack from Derry City. Sligo Rovers pair Jimmy Keohane and Achille Campion joined the Rebels last week.

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