Holman's Our Future But I'd Take Back Robbie Keane In A Heartbeat

It’s that time of year again. It’s the build-up to a Premier League transfer window and if you’re an Aston Villa fan that only means one thing – Robbie Keane is being linked again!
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It’s that time of year again. It’s the build-up to a Premier League transfer window and if you’re an Aston Villa fan that only means one thing – Robbie Keane is being linked again!

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OK, so last season Alex McLeish genuinely did sign Keane. Albeit on a loan deal during the Major League Soccer off-season; but is the same thing really going to happen again? I’ll be the first to admit that while I always acknowledged Keane as one of the better players in that “upper class” of Premier League strikers – not your Eric Cantona’s, Thierry Henry’s or Cristiano Ronaldo’s but bloody good players nevertheless – I never thought he’d be a success at Villa and I was never keen (excuse the pun) on signing him in any shape or form (the puns keep coming…). The impact he made last season was indisputable though and I’d be an idiot to still have the same opinion of him that I did this time last year.

Truth be told, I was getting sick of hearing rumours about Keane supposedly going to sign for us, it was always billed as lazy journalism in my eyes. “Not much going on at Villa transfer wise, let’s throw Robbie Keane’s name in the hat again”. I’ve always only given Alex McLeish credit for one positive action while he was in charge at Villa and that was signing Brett Holman, but when I think back to last season Keane was a huge success for us and I should really acknowledge that as another plus for the Scot. Signing Enda Stevens could be a third positive on that list but let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet…

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From the first game of the season away to West Ham United we lacked creativity and that trend has continued and thinking back to the impact that he had last season Keane could well be exactly the kind of player that we need. I hadn’t given it much thought up until he was linked again, but I think he’d be a great signing and would really kick start our goal-scoring in 2013. Villa’s top goal scorer so far this season is new signing Christian “Beast of B6” Benteke and while it’s nice that he is top, he only has five goals and we’re almost halfway through the season. With a desperate lack of goals it’s little wonder that we have been dragged into a largely unexpected relegation battle.

I’m not going to lie; I’ve made no effort whatsoever to keep up with the MLS or Robbie Keane’s season. A quick check of his season stats however show that he still knows how to find the net – 22 goals and eight assists to go with it. Sure it’s the MLS and the standard isn’t that of what we see in our own national competition but you can only score against the teams that are put in front of you, and I believe if we could secure his services on loan again for a few months it would work out well for all parties involved. Loaning players from the MLS during their off-season is an ever growing trend and we’ve seen it reap benefits on more than one occasion – Landon Donovan to Everton and Keane to Villa part one being the key examples that spring to mind – I see Henry’s return to Arsenal as more of a nostalgic move personally although I did have a big smile on my face when he slotted home in the cup shortly after making his return.

It’s no secret that Villa have struggled to create chances since losing the English trio of James Milner, Ashley Young and Stewart Downing, with replacements Stephen Ireland and Charles N’Zogbia having indifferent claret and blue careers so far. If he still has the same creative, intelligent “footballing brain” that he showed time and time again at Tottenham Hotspur and on loan at Villa Park last season then he will be a welcome and useful addition. Perhaps he could be even more effective with our new towering Belgian striker who holds the ball up for fun – someone as dynamic as Keane could really thrive off such qualities and no doubt create a few chances for Benteke.