Friday 22 September 2017

Keane not bound for Dubai after pictures fuel speculation

Robbie Keane indicated last month that a return to England was top of his list and while that didn’t come to pass before the close of the transfer window, it didn’t matter as Keane is a free agent. Photo: PA
Robbie Keane indicated last month that a return to England was top of his list and while that didn’t come to pass before the close of the transfer window, it didn’t matter as Keane is a free agent. Photo: PA
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Robbie Keane is not expected to continue his football career in Dubai, despite being pictured training with Al-Ahli yesterday.

The United Arab Emirates club sent the rumour mill into overdrive when they posted pictures of the former Ireland captain training with their first-team squad on social media.

However, it's believed that Keane is on holidays in the region with his family and was invited to join in training so he can maintain his fitness levels.

The 36-year-old parted company with LA Galaxy at the end of their 2016 season and has been taking time to mull over his next move.

He indicated last month that a return to England was top of his list and while that didn't come to pass before the close of the transfer window, it didn't matter as Keane is a free agent.

Preston North End boss Simon Grayson confirmed that he was interested in the veteran striker, but he did not fit into their current wage structure. Fulham was also mentioned as a possible destination for Ireland's all-time record goalscorer.

The Dubliner was originally tipped to stay in America and confirmed that he had turned down an opportunity to move even further afield - there was interest from Australia.

Stint

His long-term ambitions are to graduate to coaching and management in the UK and returning to football on that scene after a five-year gap - since a loan stint at Aston Villa - would tie in with those plans.

Al-Ahli do have form for spending big money to recruit outsiders, as Ghana striker and ex-Sunderland player Asamoah Gyan is currently on their books.

They also have an Irish connection as David O'Leary was appointed manager in 2010, only to be sacked a third of the way into a three-year deal. Italian World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro was one of his players.

O'Leary ended up going to FIFA to secure a compensation payment and he netted a payout that exceeded £3m.

Meanwhile, League of Ireland champions Dundalk finished up their pre-season training camp in Spain by thrashing local side CF Reddis 6-0. Ciaran Kilduff (2), Sean Hoare, Michael Duffy, John Mountney and Patrick McEleney scored for the Lilywhites.

Cork City staff and fans are mourning the passing of the legendary Noelle Feeney, who was an integral member of the club in a variety of voluntary roles across three decades.

Before Christmas, she was presented with a Southside & District Special Lifetime Achievement award for her contribution to sport and charity.

Irish Independent

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