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Bizarre twist to Keane's Liverpool deal
by Joe Addison, July 29th, 2008 7AM

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[TRANSFER TALK] Liverpool has captured the signature of Robbie Keane from Tottenham Hotspur. The Ireland captain signed a four-year deal with the Anfield club, while the two sides agreed to a $38 million transfer fee that could rise to $40.5 million, depending on performance-related clauses. In an unprecedented gesture, Liverpool also will throw in money directed to a Tottenham charity to appease Spurs management for the manner in which the deal was struck.

Keane nearly joined Liverpool at the age of 15 after he attracted the attention of Premier League clubs during a successful youth spell at Crumlin United in Dublin. At the time, Keane opted to join Wolves in order to get more first-team experience.

Now, the 28-year-old forward will join Fernando Torres to form one of the Premiership's most clinical striking duos. Last season, Keane scored 15 goals in the league while Torres bagged 24 of his own. Keane will also hope to provide stability for Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez. The Spaniard has tried a number of different strike partners with Torres, each with little success. Dirk Kuyt proved to be more influential as a winger, Andriy Voronin has failed to impress, while giant Peter Crouch moved on to Portsmouth earlier this summer.

The signature of Keane will probably cool Benitez's interest in Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry. The clubs could not agree on a transfer fee for the England international. Benitez has already presided over a number of summer moves. New to the side are Swiss right back Philipp Degen, Italian Andrea Dossena, 19-year-old French forward David Ngog and 18-year-old Spaniard Emmanuel Mendy. Meanwhile, Scott Carson, John Arne Riise and Crouch have all departed.

Keane's transfer is a huge blow to Tottenham. Since joining Spurs in 2002, he earned a place at White Hart Lane as a fan favorite. The Irishman delighted fans with his ability to find the net and his impish personality. In 254 appearances with the club, he scored 107 times. The 28-year-old Keane was also a leader at Tottenham, serving as captain for much of last year and helping the team to a Carling Cup victory over Chelsea, Spurs first trophy since 1991.

Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy did not look likely on the move, which Spurs first claimed came about after the Reds "tapped" Keane.

"I don't regard it as a transfer deal," said Levy. "That's something which happens between clubs when they both agree to trade. This is very much an enforced sale."

Tottenham's entire attacking line remains the subject of transfer rumors. Manchester United has already submitted a $40 million bid for the Bulgarian Dimitar Berbatov but Spurs balked at the price. English forward Darren Bent has also been linked to Everton and Sunderland.

Spurs manager Juande Ramos will likely use the funds raised by Keane's sale to wrap up the $36 million purchase of Blackburn winger David Bentley. Tottenham is also looking at two of Russia's most enterprising Euro 2008 performers, Spartak Moscow forward Roman Pavlyuchenko and Zenit St. Petersburg attacking midfielder Andrei Arshavin.



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