European Soccer

A closer look at the Robbie Keane transfer


So much for not having funds to throw around.

Today, Liverpool completed the £20.3 million ($40.5 million) transfer of Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane. The 28-year-old is Tottenham’s first significant sale of the summer after the North London club splashed money on Luka Modric, Giovani Dos Santos and Heurelho Gomes.

Tottenham appears bitter over the sale of Keane, although they did drop the complaint they lodged over Liverpool’s conduct in the transaction.

"I have already made my opinion clear on the nature of this transaction," Spurs chairman Daniel Levy said. "I don’t regard it as a transfer deal – that is something which happens between two clubs when they both agree to trade – this is very much an enforced sale, for which we have agreed a sum of £19million as compensation plus a potential further £1.3million in additional compensation."

The move comes in the wake of Peter Crouch’s £11 million ($21.7 million) Portsmouth switch, although the two were not completely similar players. It was thought that Rafa Benitez would acquire Gareth Barry, which could have moved Steven Gerrard up to second striker where he’s done well, but the decision to keep Xabi Alonso ruled out that purchase.

This, however, is just as legitimate a move as Keane has enjoyed considerable success in recent years. He has reached double-digits in league goals (15 in 2007-08) each of the past six seasons and has totaled 107 goals for Tottenham in all competitions. After several seasons as the goal-sparse team among the Big Four, Liverpool now have attacking options to go with the best in Britain with Fernando Torres, Dirk Kuyt, Ryan Babel, Andriy Voronin and new purchase David N’Gog already in the stable.

Word still hasn’t come on where exactly the money for Keane came from as goalkeeper Scott Carson was sold to West Brom for less than expected ($6.5 million) and the Reds were believed to be spending only as much money as Benitez brought in.

This would seem to rule out Liverpool financially from making a move on Spanish winger David Silva, but I suppose you can never say never as not many expected such lavish spending at Anfield (I personally expected them to be priced out on Keane or get him for a relative bargain.) Other collateral damage incurred is that Tottenham appear unlikely now to sell Dimitar Berbatov, unless, of course, Samuel Eto’o is on his way to White Hart Lane.

Was that figure too much for Spurs to turn down or did Liverpool get a fair price? Should Levy keep his mouth shut after accepting the deal or do you appreciate when people denounce aggressive tactics from big clubs? Does this move upgrade Liverpool into legitimate contention for the EPL title or do they still need more depth defensively and on the wings? Share your thoughts below.

  • Bill

    there was a time I use to love Liverpool and when doesn’t an american believe they’re irish?

    Super signing – I dreamt of MLS having the guts to signing Robbie Keane, oh well..I’ll tune into EPL matches and enjoy none-the-less.


  • combo breaker karma

    i thought all those recent buys by tottenham were an indicator that the club was going to attempt to break a top 4 finish, but with the sale of Keane (who worked so, so well with Berbatov) nothing less than a player as good will give them that chance. Granted I dont know how good Dos Santos would fit into Tottenham, i still think they should have held on to Keane.


  • Frimp

    will be interesting to see what they do this year, but I think in the end they still need a bit of depth.

    at least they didn’t trade for chad barrett. oh wait, that’s…nevermind.


  • Ben

    its all gone tits up at spurs, unless we sign villa/benzema there is no way to replace keane, bent is a donkey and dos santos isnt any where near keane’s quality


  • Steve

    Spurs will use that money to sign Arshavin and move into the top 4 this year.


  • Dannyc58

    Dirk Kuyt is an attacking option? LOL.

    Liverpool CHOSE to keep Xabi? LOL. No, Juve saw the asking priced and laughed in their face.


  • DC spur

    It is a good deal for both clubs and for Keane. I have a feeling that Ramos was not that attached to Keane and at 20 million pounds that is a heafty sum for a 28 year old striker.

    The question for spurs now is what do they do with that 20 million. I expect a big push for David Villa and for Arshavin. The only place it sees for Berbatov to go is Barca – and since he is out of contract at the end of the year and could walk for nothing – one could see a Berbatov for Eto deal with Barca paying something considerable as well.

    If Spurs end up replacing Keane and Berbatov with Villa and Eto or Arshavin then it will put them in a good place to challenge arsenal.


  • Dannyc58

    DC Spur,

    I can’t argue w/that price for Robbie, but are you worried about having (likely) your two starting forwards being new the Premiere League?

    If I were a Sp*rs fan (and Thank God I’m not 😉 ), that would concern me.

    I actually think Bent is a solid option, and since they wont make their money back (though they should if AJ goes for GPB12mm) I think they should give him another shot.

    Wondering what you think?


  • USvsIreland

    To the tune of “let it be”:

    When we found ourselves with striker worries, good old Rafa said to me,

    there will be an answer: Robbie Keane.

    When Torres, Stevie, and Dirk aren’t scoring, who’ll turn one point to three?

    Our new Irish striker: Robbie Keane.

    Robbie Keane,

    Robbie Keane,

    Robbie Keane,

    Robbie Keane,

    There will be an answer – Robbie Keane.

    KEANO IS A RED!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  • mike

    Liverpool will challenge for the PL title. Tottenham will crack the top 4. It sounds a lot like last summer and we know how that turned out. Don’t forget the “Arsenal is in crisis!” headline.

    $40 million for Keane? He’s a nice player, but that’s a lot to spend for a team that still has some holes to fill.


  • Ben

    Liverpool will never challenge for the PL title with Rafa in charge and Bent’s 4 goals against Norwich mean nothing, he had a great preseason last year but did f all in the PL



    One keano, theres only one keano

    i hve seen the let it be song for keane already today but that first verse i havent yet and i think it is great


  • ladfromthelane

    New KOP Song..

    (tune to strawberry fields)

    You can’t take him down if you wanted to…

    Robbie Keane,

    Scores for the team,

    This Irishman wont mess about,

    Robbie Keane Forever..


  • Joe_in_ND

    I love all the haters on LFC and Robbie Keane. I also love the claims of Liverpool not having depth and still having spots to fill on the squad.

    Right now. Rafa has a great starting keeper with a solid backup. He has improved the outside backs, and strengthened the center backs. We have one of the best and deepest defenses in all of club soccer (Agger, Carragher, Skrtel, Hyypia, Dossena, Arbeloa, Aurelio, Degen, Darby, Finnan, and Insua).

    In the midfield is probably our only problem. Kuyt on the right wing is a little worrisome, but he played well there last year and in Euros for the Dutch. Babel missing during the Olympics will be a hit, because we don’t have the depth at left midfield. Our central midfield is loaded!

    And now our strike force is loaded. Keane and Torres! ’nuff said.

    So yes, we have one spot to fill, and one position that doesn’t have desirable depth. I’ll take it.



  • Scott_in_TX


    While I agree with your overall sentiments, the way you express them is horizontal — approaching the squad in terms of defense, midfield, and attack as separate units — and seems to presume a 4-4-2 lineup.

    Here are two variations:

    First, another way of conceptualizing the team is in terms of the spine and the periphery. Our Reds possess perhaps the greatest spine in the game — from Pepe, through Carragher/Agger/Skrtel (choose two), to Gerrard and Mascherano (with Lucas and Alonso as marvelous backups), up to Torres and now Keane up top. It’s hard to think of any way to improve on any of those positions (although I’m somewhat dubious on the backups at striker).

    The question is outside — are Yossi, Babel, and Pennant sufficient as outside midfielders? Both Yossi and Babel have said repeatedly that they like to play striker (as did Kewell), and both like to cut inside into the channels. Same story for Kuyt. Rafa has indicated that he wants the new fullbacks to be more offensive, but I guess we’ll have to see how it works out to rely on Dossena and Degen (and Arbeloa and Finnan?) making overlapping runs to provide width.

    The second modification is to note that Benitez has often adopted a 4-2-3-1. With Keane now able to play that attacking central midfield (with Babel on one side and Kuyt or Yossi on the other), Gerrard can drop back to join Mascherano in the holding midfield. No one doubts that Gerrard will get forward… but there’s still a question about whether balls will EVER come in from the wings, in either 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 formations, with these personnel.


  • DC spur

    Danny c58,

    No doubt there is concern. Ideally we would have kept Keane and hopefully we will keep Berbatov. But 20 mill allows us to do a lot and make a lot of upgrades. And who knows we could look back on this as a great move. Sell high as they say.

    Bent deserves a real shot. And Dos Santos can play up top as well. If Berbatov stays, a strike force of Berba, Bent, and Santos is not too shabby. While there is concern about breaking up the most successful strike partnership in the EPL, spurs fans trust in Ramos and believe that he will improve the club. This is now his team and he will be under a lot of pressure.


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