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Thursday Kickoff: Keane loan official, Sneijder fit for Milan derby and more

Keane gety 1

It's official, Robbie Keane is headed to Aston Villa.

The Premier League side confirmed the long-running rumor that the LA Galaxy striker will join Villa for two months during the MLS off-season. The 31-year-old captain of the Irish national team is hoping to stay fit ahead of this summer's European Championships and is the latest in a number of short-term loan deals from MLS clubs to the Premier League.

Keane's first match could come on Saturday when Villa plays against Landon Donovan and Everton. Keane will be available up until Feb. 25th's match with Wigan and has already received glowing praise from manager Alex McLeish and striker Darren Bent.

Here are some more stories to kick off your Thursday.


Inter Milan were boosted by the news Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder will be fit for Sunday's Milan derby. Inter Milan's hopes of getting back into the Serie A title race will depend largely on getting a victory on Sunday and will mark the first time Sneijder has played since Nov. 2. Inter is on a six-match winning streak and has risen to fifth in the table, eight points behind Milan and Juventus at the top.


Chris Coleman has been identified as the front runner to take over as manager of the Wales national team following the untimely death of Gary Speed in November. The former international teammate of Speed said he would accept the position is it was offered and could be in place in time to take charge of Wales for their friendly against Costa Rica next month. Coleman was almost named manager 12 months ago but lost out to Speed, whom he considered a close friend. Much of the timing is contingent on the resolution of Coleman's contract dispute with former club Larissa.


Chelsea defender Alex looks to be on his way out of Stamford Bridge with an offer from a Premier League club on the table. The offer is widely believed to be from QPR, who are looking to make a splash in the January transfer window as new manager Mark Hughes settles in. The club accepted the Brazilian's transfer request after he failed to feature under Andres Villas-Boas in the first half of this season.


Real Madrid will be without midfielder Sami Khedira for an extended period of time after the German international picked up a leg injury on Tuesday. It's a big loss for manager Jose Mourinho, who faces a congested fixture list and a possible matchup with Barcelona in the next round of the Copa del Rey.


Excited for Keane's loan deal? Will Sneijder make an impact on Sunday? Is Coleman the right man for the Wales job?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. When is Mo’s current contract up w/ Rangers?

    I thought it was already for another year, but if it’s only until the summer, then a bid of 1mil isn’t horrible. They would essentially only be buying out 5 months or so of a contract.

  2. Word on some of the sites I’ve looked at have suggested that bringing Keane to Villa was a sizeable investment for the club. I’ve seen £650,000 quoted by some. Even if that’s off the mark — and I’m not going to start calling clubs and agents to verify — it’s hardly loose change.

  3. Good idea. Let’s wrap MLS players in cotton wool and store them in a warehouse during the long offseason. That will be better for everybody the long run.

  4. THIS IS NOT AN ADVERTISEMENT: The 2. Bundesliga club St. Pauli, in Hamburg, is trying to find a goalkeeper to fill in for the Philipp Tschauner, who was injured in December and will be out at least until February. This would be an absolutely great opportunity for a an MLS goalkeeper looking to move to Europe. St. Pauli is near the top of the 2. Bundesliga, with a decent shot of moving back to the top league next season.

  5. I think they wanted him fresh for the game this weekend. Chievo is probably more focusd on staying in Serie A than advancing far into the Italian Cup (yesterdays game was a cup game). Actually, both teams rested a lot of starters.

  6. It is a good sign for the MLS (which has long been inferior to BPL) that more and more players are being loaned out and MAKING AN IMPACT (e.g. Henry). This goes to show that our home league is growing in quality players.


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