HE COULD have stayed in Los Angeles and put his feet up for a few months but Robbie Keane has decided his time will be better served with a loan move to Aston Villa.
It’s a wise decision by Keane who had considered using his time off from LA Galaxy duty to train with his former club Tottenham Hotspur but regular competitive soccer back in the Premier League will help keep the Irish captain in peak condition before he returns to America towards the end of February.
Keane is no stranger to making a move during the January transfer window having previously joined Spurs, Celtic and West Ham at this time of year and with Villa already possessing a definite shade of green with Shay Given, Richard Dunne, Stephen Ireland and Enda Stevens on the books, the Dubliner should have few problems settling in at Villa Park.
Alex McLeish tried to sign Keane this time last year when he was in charge at Birmingham City and having managed to get him in for a short spell this time round the former Rangers boss will be counting on the 31 year-old’s vast experience and goal scoring touch to help propel Villa up the table.
Keane will bring some much-needed guile to the Villa attack. They possess plenty of pace with Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor but the Villa fans have bemoaned the style of soccer played under McLeish and will hope Keane can click with his new teammates from the off and bring flair to the team.
Aside from his ability to score goals Keane has developed into a leader since taking on the Irish captaincy in 2006 during Steve Staunton’s time in charge and McLeish will be looking for Keane to give the dressing room a lift.
Keane is likely to make his Villa debut this weekend against Everton who have taken Keane’s Galaxy teammate Landon Donovan on loan for a second time. Keane will also get the opportunity to take on his former club Wolves, QPR, Newcastle, Manchester City and Wigan during his time back in the Premier League.
It will be interesting to see how many goals Keane can create and score during his short spell back in England. Before departing for the States, Keane had an injury-ravaged loan spell with West Ham where he scored just two goals in nine matches. The Hammers’ faithful were disappointed by his lack of impact at the club. He now has a point to prove to some of his critics who thought he was taking the easy option by going to LA.
Giovanni Trapattoni will also be looking on with interest to see what sort of form Keane is in ahead of the Friendly with the Czech Republic in February.
The Tallaght native is vital to the Italian’s plans for the summer; his goals in the qualifying process including two against Estonia in the playoff were crucial to securing a place in Poland/Ukraine and if we are to progress from Group C then Keane, whose international tally stands at 53, is the man most likely to grab the goals.
For now though he will concentrate on finding the net for the 10th club of his nomadic career.