Daniel McDonnell: Restless Keane hits the road again

For Robbie Keane, any transfer is possible. There are few footballers who get to join the club of their boyhood dreams on two separate occasions within the space of 18 months. Managers love him, and then they love him not.

The irony of it all is that while the Irish skipper's move to his English love, Liverpool, will be remembered as a failure because it lasted for half a season, the only way in which a switch to his Scottish bit on the side, Celtic, can be deemed a success is if it lasts for the same period of time.

It would be deeply worrying if a player of Keane's ability was viewing the SPL as a home for the long term. Right now, the game in Scotland is in a pretty deplorable state. Alas, a short-term switch, seemingly fuelled by the generosity of Dermot Desmond, will deliver regular football, a confidence boosting dalliance with generous defenders and the ticking of a box in the career goals. Football's version of a holiday fling.

Twelve months after his last-ditch return to Spurs, the obvious question is why the London club are so willing to let the 29-year-old depart. The answer was delivered in the midst of the compellingly excruciating 'Sky Sports News' transfer deadline day wrap where, in typical fashion, the real excitement came after they handed over to Big Ben to bring the official business south of the border to a close. Understated. That's how they like it.


Shortly after the Keane to Celtic story emerged, Harry Redknapp popped up on the line to confirm there was substance to the rumours. Had he spoken to Robbie about it? The answer was no.

Of course, it would be naïve to get taken in by everything uttered by a chairman, player or manager on transfer deadline day. Redknapp went on to praise Keane's character, barely stopping short of suggesting that it would have been morally wrong to stand in the way of a proud Irishman who was fulfilling a lifetime's ambition.

The bottom line, however, is that Spurs, who are genuinely in the running for a Champions League place, have waved goodbye to their captain and a recognised goalscorer who is another person's injury away from being very important to their prospects. It is a risk borne from a breakdown in relations between Redknapp and Keane.

Tellingly, it was the chairman, Daniel Levy, who apparently informed Redknapp of the interest from Celtic and it's safe to assume that he was the figure at Spurs who communicated with Keane as developments occurred. The Tallaght native enjoys an unlikely friendship with Levy, the 47-year-old Cambridge graduate.

Indeed, their alliance was pivotal to the prodigal son's comeback to White Hart Lane. There was no such closeness between player and manager, the latter unaware that his captain enjoyed such a rapport with the club's hierarchy. Indeed, it's understood he was taken aback by it.

By the summer, it emerged that Redknapp was willing to listen to offers, with Sunderland surprised when there was no stern response to a speculative query. That interest remained, yet the strong suspicion was that Keane, now a father for the first time, was happier back in London with his wife. A move to the North-East was unlikely to appeal but the fact that Spurs were listening delivered a message. Managers do not consider offers for the club captain and highest earner unless they are keen to shift them out the door, regardless of whatever spin they put on it.

"He's not a happy man when he's not playing regularly. He loves his football," said Redknapp, in delivering a pretty unconvincing explanation for why he was willing to facilitate a move.

When the link with Scotland first hit the news stands, it seemed dubious to assert that Keane loved either his football or Celtic enough to consider relocating to an ailing league; particularly when you threw in the small matter of his estimated £75,000-a-week pay packet. The days of the Old Firm being major players in the transfer market have long since departed -- the collapse of Setanta and failures in Europe being the final nail in that coffin.

It's not too long since the big Glasgow clubs were able to lure the likes of Brian Laudrup, Ronald De Boer, Paul Gascoigne, Paolo Di Canio and Henrik Larsson to their neck of the woods. Realistically, the most accomplished player in the SPL now is Aiden McGeady, who has stagnated because he has persevered in the relative backwater for too long.

Therefore, it seems remarkable that Keane is about to enter an arena packed with such inferior talents. His sparkling performance in Paris in November, unfairly judged on the basis of one -- admittedly crucial -- second-half miss, serves as a very recent reminder of the quality that has been benched at White Hart Lane. Giovanni Trapattoni only sprung McGeady into that game as a desperate last throw of the dice.

So why is he doing it? There may be some sincerity in his passion for Celtic, yet it seems as though the alternative was a permanent switch to a part of England he didn't fancy, or a period of benchwarming at White Hart Lane.


West Ham confirmed yesterday that when they enquired about Keane, they were told that a fee of £1m for what is essentially a four-month loan would be the price in addition to a commitment to cover every penny of his wage packet. You'd struggle to find many Premier League clubs, outside the elite few, that would consent to such a loan package. The exact details of the Celtic switch remained unclear last night, but the feeling was that Spurs were happier doing business with a club outside their jurisdiction.

Ultimately, though, the final decision lay with Keane and, while it's unquestionably a considerable step down standard wise, it's easy to see the appeal to the ego.

Just like the other Keano, whose Celtic cameo descended into an inglorious footnote, he was greeted by the adoring masses who have already bestowed hero status upon their new acquisition.

Their title hopes are forlorn already so it won't be his fault if they fall short. And there's no pay cut, and no binding commitment in case it all goes horribly wrong. So he can love them and leave them. Like only Robbie can.

Sourced from: The Irish Independent

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
businessUber, Snapchat and Facebook founders among those on the 2015 Forbes Billionaire List
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Homer’s equation, in an episode in 1998, comes close to the truth, as revealed 14 years later
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003