Almost every top-level striker in the world has had at least one top move to one of the ‘dream’ clubs in the world, and in this case, we’ve got a couple we could focus on …
But out of all the transfers completed throughout his 20-year career, Robbie Keane’s move to Liverpool in 2010 is perhaps the greatest tale of ‘what could have been’ for the plucky Irishman. Though it wasn’t for the want of trying, he never quite got to enjoy the role as much as he deserved to do so following his CV up until that point.
We’ve written previously about his adored partnership with Dimitar Berbatov whilst at Spurs, and it was in a Lilywhites shirt where we got to see the best of Robbie Keane. Dovetailing beautifully with Berbatov, they were the perfect yin-yang partnership for Spurs; where the classiness and invention of the former could mesh in well with the industry and forward-thinking running of the latter.
Sure, Berba wasn’t all too famous for running, but why run when you’ve got Robbie Keane in the side?
This partnership flourished best during one of two spells at White Hart Lane, before either side of the duo would set sail for pastures new. Dimitar himself was embroiled in a dramatic deadline-day tussle between the two Manchester clubs before eventually choosing United under Sir Alex Ferguson, while Robbie Keane’s own ambitions lay within a shirt representing the Red Devils’ fiercest rivals in Liverpool Football Club.
Having publicly announced their wishes to purchase the Irishman in late July 2008 – in a time where their own transition resulted in multiple salty stories like these – Robbie Keane was officially unveiled as a Liverpool player that window once a rough £20 million fee was sorted. Music to the ears for a lifelong Anfield supporter …
“I’ve been a Liverpool fan all my life, going back to when I was a kid growing up in Dublin, and I always had a Liverpool shirt on my back. So, to be here now as a Liverpool player is incredible and I couldn’t be happier.”Robbie Keane, on his move to Liverpool back in 2008
Once completed, and a number of the burnt bridges were restored with Spurs, Robbie Keane was given the coveted Liverpool number 7 shirt. Once held by the great Kenny Dalglish – a player ‘Keano‘ publicly stated as one of his idols growing up in the game – the stage was set for the Premier League stalwart to continue the trajectory he had been on over the past few years, in an attempt to restore some of the prestige which had shaped out of the Liver-bird.
Unfortunately for him, the difference in systems between the clubs was a gap too great to bridge …
As stated in the above video, pulling from multiple soundbites from ex-Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, it seemed as though the timing of the transfer couldn’t have been more short-sighted if they tried. Not only was there a tough balance to strike between manager and signing, but there was also an existing partnership at the club which would prove nigh-on impossible to disrupt without being disadvantageous to the team.
Of course, I’m referring to the stellar creator-and-finisher duo of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres.
The latter Spaniard was quickly becoming one of their better players in recent years, and Gerrard’s best weapons seemed to sharpen the finishing tools of Torres to the benefit of their team. So, though Robbie Keane was a wonderful player capable of doing great things, Liverpool weren’t in a position to rely on him as he would have liked.
Eventually shipped back out to Tottenham for only a percentage of the fee required to bring him in the first place, his 6 months in red serve as a brief break from his immortal status as a Hotspur player.