LOS ANGELES – Robbie Keane is the latest international star to appear in the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The MLS-leading Galaxy agreed to terms with the Irish national team captain on Monday, adding another big name alongside David Beckham for the playoff run.
"I have already discussed football with (Galaxy coach) Bruce Arena, and I know exactly what he wants from me," Keane said. "I am fit, fresh and ready to go. I've come here to score goals and help this team achieve their goals. This is a massive opportunity for me in my career. I aim to grab it with both hands and hopefully help give the Galaxy fans what they want."
Keane is moving from Tottenham Hotspur, where the 31-year-old striker has fallen behind Roman Pavlyuchenko and Jermain Defoe after scoring just one goal in 10 matches last season. Keane initially hoped to stay in the Premier League during its transfer window, but became interested in the Galaxy after training with Beckham at Tottenham earlier this year.
"I have always wanted to come and play in MLS, so it's the perfect combination for me and a dream come true," said Keane, the 10th-leading goal-scorer in Premier League history with 123 goals. "When David Beckham came and trained at Spurs recently, he couldn't speak highly enough about the Galaxy, their fans and the league in general, so I can't wait to get over and get started."
Although Keane has struggled with Tottenham, he has been outstanding for the Irish national team, scoring a record 51 goals in his career — including five goals in six recent matches during group qualifying play for Euro 2012. He played for Ireland against Croatia last Wednesday, and the Irish have key qualifying matches against Slovakia and Russia in the next few weeks.
The Galaxy lead the MLS standings with 48 points on the strength of 11 goals from Landon Donovan — the league's second-leading goal-scorer behind Thierry Henry — and a resurgent season from Beckham, who's second in the league with 10 assists in the final year of his MLS contract. Los Angeles' next MLS match is Saturday night against San Jose.
"Robbie Keane will be a great addition to our club," said Arena, also the Galaxy's general manager. "I have followed his career and have always respected his ability as a competitor and a goal-scorer. I believe that he brings qualities in and around the penalty area that we have been lacking. Hopefully he will be another piece of the puzzle in our quest for the Supporters' Shield and an MLS Cup championship, as well as to advance to the next round of the CONCACAF Champions League."
The Galaxy must make a roster move when Keane receives his visa, since Los Angeles already has three "designated players" who can be paid above the MLS salary cap: Beckham, Donovan and Colombian forward Juan Pablo Angel.
Beckham and Donovan are crucial to the Galaxy's success, which means Angel almost certainly will be moved when Keane gets his visa. Although Angel was the MLS' leading scorer over the previous four seasons, he has just three goals and one assist in 22 games for Los Angeles.
Angel is thought to be headed across the hallway at Home Depot Center to Chivas USA, which shares a stadium with the Galaxy in Carson, Calif., and is fighting to stay in the playoff race.
Starting his pro career at 17, Keane played for three English clubs and Inter Milan before joining Tottenham in August 2002. He moved to Liverpool in 2008, but returned to Tottenham in early 2009 before spending parts of the past two seasons on loan to Celtic of the Scottish Premier League and West Ham.