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Keane loan to cost Villa £500k

ASTON VILLA are prepared to pay in the region of £500,000 to secure the services of Robbie Keane until the end of February.

Manager Alex McLeish is hoping to complete the deal in the coming days, with the Dubliner in line to make his Villa debut against Everton next weekend.

That will bring Keane face-to-face with his LA Galaxy colleague Landon Donovan, who has already started his brief Premier League loan stint.

It's believed that Villa will pay Keane's £40,000-a-week wages for the duration of his stay. The rest of the Premier League club's outlay will be made up of a loan fee and a temporary insurance payment.

"If we don't know by Monday, then it probably will not be done," said McLeish.

"But we are certainly pursuing it and, at the moment, both parties are keen. I would say the chances are a bit better than 50-50.

"Robbie has got massive experience as a striker. That's first and foremost. He is a great character as well and those sort of players can enlighten a dressing-room.

"I just think the glove fits. He can score goals. He is capable of hurting other teams with his team play. But, as it just so happens, he is also one of the brighter guys around football and has been for a long, long time."

Keane is currently training with Tottenham Hotspur to keep his fitness up. The highlight of his proposed stint with Villa would be the visit of Manchester City to Birmingham on February 12.

He would also come up against his former Ireland boss Mick McCarthy in the derby against Wolves, one of his former clubs, at Molineux on January 21.

Keane would be reunited with his good friends Richard Dunne and Shay Given at Villa, in addition to rising star Ciaran Clark and also a certain Stephen Ireland.

Given is close to a return from injury after tearing a hamstring in last month's clash with Manchester United.

Brad Guzan has impressed in his absence, but the 35-year-old Donegal man is expected to come right back into the team.

Irish Independent