Should the Vancouver Whitecaps be keen on Keane?

December 6, 2010 at 6:14 am | Posted in Vancouver Whitecaps In MLS | 1 Comment

The new era the Vancouver Whitecaps have entered became apparent as the buzz in the English media and elsewhere is that the Vancouver Whitecaps are courting Robbie Keane, the legendary Irish striker.   It is now established that Tottenham Hotspur have taken Keane off of their roster and will be transferring him during the January transfer window.

Unless a deal in principle has already been reached, the Whitecaps will face hard competition to secure his services.   A number of Premiership clubs would love to get their hands on a proven goalscorer and character player.  Harry Redknapp, the current manager of Tottenham is a superb deal maker, but Whitecaps CEO Paul Barber knows Redknapp’s tricks well.   I am optimistic the two clubs will come to a mutually agreeable solution, including perhaps a mutual player development deal and no doubt an exhibition game right here in Vancouver.

One of the things the Whitecaps must consider is that Keane is actually on the downturn in his ability as a player.  This does not mean he is still not a quality player, but since his disastrous spell at Liverpool in 2008, Keane has struggled to capture his previous stellar form.   He has not commanded a first team place at Tottenham of late, and he consequently has been demoted from the top tier of strikers in the English game.  At 30, his age is beginning to catch up with him.

Major League Soccer clubs must be careful not to sign players who are looking for a wind-down in their careers.  Such players will find the fast and physical nature of MLS not to their liking.  Lowthar Mattheus was a player who had a superb career in Europe and then completely fell flat in the MLS.   Toronto FC recently had a disaster with striker Mista from Spain.

The issue for the Whitecaps is whether Keane will come over and still be a player with ambition.   Will he adapt to playing on plastic after playing all of this life on near-perfect grass pitches?  Is his heart still in the game?  I believe the answer to this is yes.

In their history, the Whitecaps have had players at the twilight of their careers like Alan Ball, Willie Johnston and Peter Lorimer, and have gotten good results from them.  The Whitecaps have also taken brilliant players at the beginning of their careers, like Peter Beardsley and Bruce Grobbelaar.    Personally, I think the Whitecaps should try to attract younger players on the upswing in their careers rather than getting players on the downturn, but in the case of Keane I would be happy to make an exception.

Keane has, in the past, been a leader and character player wherever he has played.  I don’t think he knows how to play any other way.  He has captained Ireland and Spurs.  He plays with fantastic passion, and wears his heart on his sleeve.   He has been one of the Premiership’s deadliest finishers.

Football clubs need to have the right mixture of players.  Even if Keane is on the downward trend in terms of raw ability, the character,  experience and leadership he can provide would be invaluable to the club.   I have no doubt there are many goals left to be scored by Keane for whoever signs him.

Keane will cost a pretty penny, but lets hope he signs for the Whitecaps.


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  1. If you ask 100 fans which striker the Cap’s should sign you will get ~100 different names. We need some help scoring goals. A name player might attract a few fans now but a ‘Peter Beardsley’ is a better investment. The Cap’s brain trust has to keep this as top priority.
    As fans we keep holding our breath that they will succeed.

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