Tuesday 17 January 2017

Robbie's not so perfect 10

Published 10/01/2012 | 05:00

ROBBIE KEANE was in Birmingham yesterday, training with his new Aston Villa team-mates as he prepares for life with the 10th club of his professional career.

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The Irish captain's loan move from LA Galaxy should go through in the next 24 hours, with only the formalities to go through after an insurance payment was agreed.

Keane will be with Alex McLeish's side until the end of next month, and is set to make his debut in this weekend's Premier League showdown with Everton.

It's a case of third time lucky for Villa, who tried to sign the 31-year-old twice during his storied career, but he chose other options.

This is the 11th change of scenery in Keane's eventful career. Certainly, it's been a mixed bag in terms of success and failure. Here, we rank the Dubliner's transfer decisions over the past 12 years.

1 LEEDS TO TOTTENHAM, £7M

AUGUST 2002

Appearances: 254

Goals: 107

There were a few bumpy periods during his six years at White Hart Lane but, ultimately, choosing London as an escape route from cash-strapped Leeds was a wise move from Keane.

He delivered consistently at Premier League level, and struck up a particularly profitable partnership with Dimitar Berbatov that led to Jermain Defoe being deemed surplus to requirements.

2 WOLVES TO COVENTRY, £6M

AUGUST 1999

Appearances: 34

Goals: 12

Keane was in demand after his impressive performances in the second tier for Wolves, and he opted for Coventry in a big-money deal that raised eyebrows.

Alex Ferguson was sceptical about the fee, but Keane proved a good acquisition for Coventry and thrived in Gordon Strachan's attack-minded side. They sold the Dubliner on for a profit, but never found an adequate replacement, with relegation the punishment.

3 CRUMLIN UNITED TO WOLVES

Appearances: 87

Goals: 29

With a big reputation due to his outstanding performances at schoolboy level, Keane could have plumped for the pull of Liverpool.

However, he opted for a less glamorous destination to start his career, and it worked. After smashing in 26 goals for the youth team in his first season, the poacher was fast-tracked to the first team and quickly graduated to the international scene.

4 TOTTENHAM TO CELTIC, LOAN

Appearances: 19

Goals: 16

For a player short on confidence, a move to Celtic ticked the boxes for Keane, who was welcomed as a hero. He was unable to prevent Rangers from winning the league, and suffered an embarrassing Scottish Cup defeat to Ross County.

But in terms of a loan move it worked out alright as he scored a shed-load of goals, while shunning the temptation to take a backward step and stay on a permanent basis.

5 INTER MILAN TO LEEDS, £12M

Appearances: 56

Goals: 19

After an initial loan period went well, Keane moved to Leeds on a full-time basis, with David O'Leary splashing out the cash. The Elland Road outfit were throwing around money at that time, and it brought the Dubliner to the right end of the Premier League table.

His form suffered in his second season, and cash problems led to his sale.

6 COVENTRY TO INTER MILAN, £13M

Appearances: 14

Goals: 3

Okay, so Keane barely played in Serie A, but it was a brave move to choose Italy when so many of his generation shunned the chance to try out foreign soil.

He was unlucky that the manager who signed him -- Marcello Lippi -- was sacked shortly afterwards. Ironically, it was current Ireland assistant coach Marco Tardelli who moved him along, yet there was no real damage to Keane's value.

7 TOTTENHAM TO LA GALAXY, £3.5M

Appearances: 8

Goals: 3

A bit early to judge the success of a move that smacked of a lifestyle choice rather than a football decision. Still, he already has a medal to show for his efforts after victory in the MLS Cup.

The real test of this switch will be his effectiveness at Euro 2012. The suspicion remains that Keane moved to the US when he had plenty left to offer at Premier League level; his cameo at Aston Villa will be the test of that theory.

8 TOTTENHAM TO LIVERPOOL, £19M

Appearances: 28

Goals: 7

It was flagged as a dream deal for Keane, a chance to make the grade at the club he supported as a child.

Unfortunately, it quickly turned sour, with Rafa Benitez seemingly uncertain about the big-money recruit and, for whatever reason, happy enough to move him on within six months, even when he had a striker shortage.

Factors beyond the Irishman's control didn't help his situation on Merseyside.

9 LIVERPOOL TO TOTTENHAM, £12M

Appearances: 47

Goals: 14

While you couldn't blame Keane for jumping ship to Anfield, it was poor judgment to return to White Hart Lane.

Harry Redknapp awarded him the captain's armband, but he was open to offers from other clubs by the summer, and when Keane broke the rules by leading an ill-advised Christmas party trip to Dublin, the writing was on the wall.

Loan moves were required to simply provide games at a time in his career when he should have been a regular.

10 TOTTENHAM TO WEST HAM, LOAN

Appearances: 10

Goals: 2

Villa fans will be hoping for a better return from Keane than West Ham received. He joined the Londoners last January on loan with a view to a permanent switch once they avoided relegation.

However, they fell through the trapdoor. He scored on his debut at Blackpool, was injured in his next start and suffered terribly with his form when he came back at the business end of the campaign.

Suitors were slow to come forward in the summer, with big question marks lingering following what had been a disastrous stint with the Hammers.

Irish Independent

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