Liverpool close in on Keane

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The Independent Football

Liverpool should complete the £18m signing of Robbie Keane within the next 24 hours.

It is understood the Republic of Ireland international has undergone a medical today.

If there are no problems with the tests, Keane may even be able to fly to Spain tomorrow with the Liverpool squad ahead of Wednesday's friendly against Villarreal.

Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez completed the finals stages of negations with the Tottenham striker over the weekend, with the fee likely to rise to £20m with add-ons.

The full medical reports usually take 24 hours to complete, but Liverpool are believed to be confident that there will be no problems with the 28-year-old.

Keane is expected to sign a five-year deal worth around £80,000 per week to join the club he has supported since boyhood.

For Keane it also represents the opportunity to play in the Champions League.

The move to Anfield will be the fifth big transfer of his career, with Keane having previously played for Wolves, Coventry, Inter Milan and Leeds.

Keane has become Benitez's number one summer target over recent weeks, with the need to replace Peter Crouch more important that pursuing the complicated, protracted, move for Aston Villa's Gareth Barry.

With the prospect of Xabi Alonso now remaining at Anfield, Liverpool may now decline to respond to Villa boss 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 will not meet an £18million valuation.

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 the consequence of new signing Philipp Degan being expected to need surgery on a groin injury which will rule him out of the start of the season.

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

All such problems will be put aside by Benitez when he is able to unveil Keane as the new strike partner for Fernando Torres.