Robbie Keane is the current record goalscorer of Republic of Ireland. He was Britain's most expensive teenager when Coventry paid Wolves £6 million in 1999 and has cost a total of £74 million in transfer fees.
Keano had enjoyed a glorious career which took an exciting turn when he joined his boyhood heroes Liverpool as the second most expensive player in Reds' history. He started his career at Wolverhampton Wanderers in 1997 where he scored 29 goals in 87 games during his two years stay in the 1st division. After spending £6 million on him, Keane only played one year at Premier League's Coventry before a surprising move to Inter Milan for £13 million. He had a torrid six months there as he fell out of favour when Italy's world cup winning coach, Marcello Lippi, who had brought him there, was sacked and replaced by Marco Tardelli.
His escape from Italy was David O'Leary's Leeds. However he struggled for form as well as his teammates after Leeds, which reached the 2001 UEFA Champions League semi-finals, were facing a financial disaster. Keane was a number of Elland Road stars who were sold to pay off debts. His next stop was White Hart Lane when Tottenham paid £7 million pounds for his services in the summer of 2002. He was only 22-years-old, but had already played for four clubs.
During his six years at Spurs, Keane had his ups and downs, in and out of the side, but consistently finished his first four seasons as one of the club's top scorers. In each of his last two seasons he went past the the 20 goal mark and became the 13th player to score 100 Premier League goals on Boxing day 2007.
Keane is well known for scoring great goals as well as being a goal creator and no doubt Rafa hoped that Fernando Torres would benefit from being his strike partner as Dimitar Berbatov did. His former manager at Tottenham, Martin Jol, was very surprised when Spurs decided to sell him to Liverpool in the summer of 2008: "He was everything. He symbolised Spurs. He was the most influential player in the dressing room. He was probably the most consistent player with Ledley King, before he got injured. I really thought Robbie Keane would have stayed there for the rest of his career."
Great things were expected of Robbie Keane as his Liverpool career started in earnest after the pre-season preparations. He was a regular starter in the early weeks of the season but his first Liverpool goal did not arrive until the October 1 in his 11th first-team appearance, the home Champions League fixture against PSV Eindhoven. Another important European goal came in Madrid later in the same month but, just like Peter Crouch three years earlier, he just couldn't find the net in a Premier League match; and that situation lasted until West Bromwich Albion came to Anfield on the second weekend in November, when he scored twice. He got another brace against Bolton on Boxing Day as well as a superb equaliser at Arsenal just before Christmas.
By now Robbie was more likely to be found on the bench or out of the squad altogether as he was to actually start a game. He was picked from the start for the Anfield league match with Everton on January 19, but did not make the 18-man squad at all for the cup tie with the same opponents six days later. Three days later what would turn out to be his final Liverpool appearance came when he came on as a substitute for Steven Gerrard in the 84th minute immediately after Wigan had equalised. Four days later against Chelsea he again did not figure at all.
As the January transfer-window neared its close, there were strong rumours about a return to Tottenham, especially following the news that Jermain Defoe would be out injured for several weeks. On the final day of the 'window' Robbie travelled to London, had a medical at Tottenham and signed for the club he had left to join Liverpool only six months earlier.
Keane joined the club he had supported as a boy but it's a fact that such a connection does not automatically bring success. But nor can Keane be described as a failure either. It's just a shame it didn't work out for him at Anfield. His record before he arrived on Merseyside spoke for itself and it would be a major surprise if he did not once again turn out to be a big part of Tottenham's future, just as he had already proved in their past with over a century of goals in all competitions.
Wolves, Coventry, Inter, Leeds, Tottenham, Tottenham (2)