This article forms part of our Profit Players feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at how well a player has fared since being signed or sold, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to prove how good of a deal the club managed to achieve.
Off the back of an impressive World Cup with the Republic of Ireland in 2002, scoring three goals in his team’s run to the last 16 after their chaotic pre-tournament preparations, Robbie Keane earned himself a move to Tottenham from Leeds for a reported £7m, as per BBC.
Then just 22, he had bounced back from an abortive spell at Inter Milan to earn his move to Spurs, already the fifth permanent club of his career, but the Irishman’s hitherto nomadic existence was in stark contrast to his lengthy spell at White Hart Lane.
Glenn Hoddle, the manager who signed him for Tottenham, said at the time of his arrival that “Keane can make White Hart Lane his spiritual home for many years”, which proved to be correct but seemed an ambitious prediction at the time given Keane’s abundance of transfers early in his career.
Keane and Spurs proved an ideal fit for one another, though, with the Tallaght native hitting double figures in the Premier League for six successive seasons in north London. Even in the 2004/05 campaign, when he often had to play second fiddle to Jermain Defoe, Frederic Kanoute and Mido, he still managed 17 goals in all competitions, a testament to his consistent penalty box prowess.
A three-time winner of Spurs’ Player of the Season award, the Irishman enjoyed his finest hour with the club in 2008 when he featured in their League Cup final success over Chelsea at Wembley, while he also scored a stoppage-time equaliser in a North London derby, albeit on the day that Arsenal clinched the Premier League title in 2004.
After six years with Tottenham, Keane moved to Liverpool, the club he supported as a boy, in the summer of 2008 but made a sensational return to White Hart Lane just six months later, this time for £12m. However, having sold him to the Reds for £19m, Spurs’ two purchases of the striker were cancelled out by the fee that they received from the Merseysiders.
After scoring 107 goals in his first spell at Tottenham, Keane added 15 more during his second coming before leaving for LA Galaxy in 2011 following loan stints at Celtic and West Ham (as per TransferMarkt).
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The striker finished his career with 126 Premier League goals, making him the 15th-highest scorer in the division’s history ahead of the likes of Dwight Yorke, Nicolas Anelka and Steven Gerrard, yet it is his scoring feats at international level which are the most eye-catching. He is Republic of Ireland’s all-time leading scorer with 68 goals for his country, a record which seems unlikely to ever be beaten given that Niall Quinn, who is second on the list, has a mere 21 by comparison (as per 11v11).
Keane has played for numerous clubs but his highest tally of goals and appearances came in his time at Spurs, where it would be fair to say that he spent the best years of his career and more than justified Hoddle’s initial faith in him.
Tottenham fans, would you consider Keane a club legend? Comment below with your views!
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