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Any loan deal good for Keane - and Ireland

FOR once, the idea that Robbie Keane is looking for a new club is a good idea. Another temporary spell in the Premier League would do him no harm.

Whether you agree with Giovanni Trapattoni or not that a match-fit Keane should start for Ireland, it can't be a bad thing if Ireland's captain is up to Premier League pace by the time the crunch Brazil 2014 qualifiers against Sweden and Austria roll around in March.

It is no surprise that several Premier League clubs, including Aston Villa, Norwich, Everton and QPR, are willing to pay his wages for three months.

The one certainty about Keane's career is the goals he scores and he hasn't let up since he moved to Los Angeles.

He scored 16 in the regular season and whacked in another five in the play-offs which earned him a place in the MLS First XI, the league's All Star team.

That's the quality which Paul Lambert, David Moyes and Harry Redknapp covet and the one which makes Keane an option - even as a short-term fix.

The only real question about Keane is whether the drop in standard from Premier League to MLS has impacted on his game over two seasons to such an extent that football at the top level in England has passed him by.

His performances for Ireland this year have been very poor and if Richard Dunne had turned up fit and able after the summer break, there is every chance that Keane would not be Ireland's captain and might even have called a halt to his international career.

But fate has left him with the captain's armband and amid serious worries about Dunne's ability to continue playing at any level, Keane will hold onto it.


Trapattoni spoke with Keane about his plans after the trip to the Faroes last month and from that conversation came the decision to allow the Dubliner to stay away from friendly internationals.

But Trapattoni also asked Keane what his plans were for the three-month gap between the end of the current MLS term and pre-season in America.

"He spoke with me about this situation after the Faroes," said Trapattoni. "I said, 'Okay, you stay in America for the friendly with Greece'. And he said that he has the opportunity to see what he will do over the winter.

"I said, 'You have to make your mind up'. He will not stay three months without football. He has a tournament in Malaysia with Galaxy. Usually, he would go there. But he has family. I don't think he has decided what to do yet. Maybe he will decide, I will ask him."

Keane himself is mulling over his options and clarity should emerge at some point in the next few weeks.