News & Current Affairs

July 28, 2008

Liverpool close in on Keane deal

Liverpool close in on Keane deal

Courtesy BBC

Liverpool are expected to complete the £18m signing of striker Robbie Keane from Tottenham within 24 hours.

He underwent a medical on Monday and may be able to fly to Spain with the Liverpool squad ahead of Wednesday’s friendly against Villarreal.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez completed the final stages of his negotiations with the 28-year-old over the weekend.

The Republic of Ireland star is expected to sign a five-year deal worth about £80,000 per week.

As a child growing up in Dublin, Keane was an avid supporter of the men from Anfield – and Liverpool will now become his sixth club after spells at Wolves, Coventry, Inter Milan and Leeds, before his switch to Tottenham in 2002 for £7m.

Keane had become Benitez’s number one summer target over recent weeks, with the need to replace Peter Crouch, who joined Portsmouth earlier this month, seemingly more important than pursuing the complicated and protracted move for Aston Villa’s 27-year-old midfielder Gareth Barry.

With the prospect of Xabi Alonso now remaining at Anfield, Liverpool may now decline to respond to Villa manager Martin O’Neill’s demand that they make their intentions regarding Barry clear.

Liverpool’s response is that Villa have turned down four bids for Barry and the Merseysiders are not prepared to pay £18m for the England international.

Benitez will now be unwilling to allow full-back Steve Finnan, a possible makeweight in a deal for Barry, to leave the club.

That is because new signing Philipp Degen is expected to need surgery on a groin injury that will rule him out of the start of the season.

There is also the likelihood that Spain international Alvaro Arbeloa could return to his home country for £6m in the coming weeks, having expressed such a desire for personal reasons.

All such problems will be put aside by Benitez when he is able to unveil Keane – who married Irish model Claudine Palmer in June – as the new strike partner for Fernando Torres.

Torres cost Liverpool £20.2m when they bought him 12 months ago, and their current second biggest signing is Javier Mascherano, who cost £17m when the deal finally went through in February this year.

The arrival of Keane will take Liverpool’s spending to about £32m since the end of last season. They have already drafted in Degen, fellow full-back Andrea Dossena, goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri and teenagers David Ngog and Emmanuel Mendy.

About £20m has been raised by selling Crouch, John Arne Riise, Scott Carson and Danny Guthrie.

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