Robbie Keane Ireland
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Could Robbie Keane help rejuvenate the League of Ireland?

John Delaney and his team failed to create any buzz at last month’s League of Ireland meeting. Journalists had gathered to find out more about the new plans from the FAI. A mundane Powerpoint presentation with some nice marketing terms was as good as it got. The League of Ireland continues to struggle. A lack of investment in promoting the game has led to a period of stagnation. Innovative ideas from the FAI are in short supply so perhaps the return of a Tallaght superstar is what’s needed. Robbie Keane has been strongly linked with a move to Shamrock Rovers. No longer contracted to the LA Galaxy, the free agent could make a sensational switch to the Green and White hoops. After all the failed attempts, could Robbie Keane help rejuvenate the League of Ireland?

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A BOYHOOD DREAM

Born and bred in Tallaght, Keane was in the Crumlin United youth setup before signing for Wolves at the young age of 15. A Rovers supporter growing up, Keane would be making an emotional return to his roots. Making a fresh start would not be daunting experience for the Irish legend. Keane has played for 11 clubs during his nomadic career. His C.V include stints with Inter, Leeds, Spurs, Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham, Aston Villa, and most recently, LA Galaxy.

At the age of 36, Robbie Keane still has something to offer. 83 goals in 125 games during his time in the States shows he would have no problems adapting to the League of Ireland. The cooler temperatures might take some getting used to again, but at the very least, Keane would be once again at last realising his ‘boyhood dream’.

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ALTERNATIVE OPTIONS

Brighton and Hove Albion are also interested in signing Keane. There is a strong Irish connection as the Seagulls’ manager is Chris Hughton, while their record signing is Shane Duffy. Top of the Championship, Keane would also have the opportunity to add another medal to his cabinet. If he were to join Brighton, it might not completely kill off his chances of appearing for Shamrock Rovers. A deal until the end of the season could in theory, be followed by an immediate transition to the summer league over here. However, Keane may want to avoid playing for 10 months without an extended break.

Offers have apparently already been received, and turned down, from clubs in the A-League. Australian sides are allowed to sign two ‘marquee foreign players’, and Keane would be a smash hit down under, where the large Irish community would flock to see him. It appears unlikely that the Tallaght man will consider a move to Australia. After five years in L.A, Keane now wants to be closer to home. This desire will probably also rule out a move to the Chinese Super League. Huge riches are on offer, but with Keane’s net worth usually estimated in the 60-60 million range, money is not a driving factor.

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BIG BONUS FOR the LEAGUE

The League of Ireland kicks off on the 24th of February. Dundalk will host Rovers in a brilliant game to start the campaign. The champions have already lost a couple of star players to moves abroad, but will still begin as favourites. What would the extra ingredient of Robbie Keane add to this fixture, and the whole league? Increased attendances and TV audiences would be guaranteed. This exposure would also help showcase the talented players currently plying their trade in the league.

Damien Duff was the last real Irish superstar to join the League of Ireland. After over 450 appearances in the English game and a short stint with Melbourne City, Duff made the surprise decision to turn out at the Tallaght Stadium. With his wages being donated to charity, the ex-Chelsea winger was really giving back to the game. There was much fanfare around his signing. Unfortunately for Duff, and the League of Ireland, injuries would mean that he would make only 9 appearances before announcing his retirement. However, even if Duff didn’t find success on the pitch, the exposure for the league was invaluable.

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something still TO OFFER

Jermaine Defoe at 34 is still one of the most in-demand strikers in the Premier League. West Ham recently had a 6 million pound recently rejected by Sunderland who clearly realise that he’s their only hope of staying up. Defoe did play one season in the MLS with Toronto. During that campaign, he was easily outscored by his ex-Spurs colleague. Keane would not only be doing the League of Ireland a massive favour by rejoining, he could also hit top form again on pitches throughout the country. Rovers jerseys with ‘Keane 7’ on the back might become a common sight across the city.

What do you think? Could Robbie Keane help rejuvenate the League of Ireland? Vote below:

Could Robbie Keane help rejuvenate the League of Ireland?
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