MLS side LA Galaxy announced late on Thursday night that Robbie Keane would leaving the club at the end of the year.
Keane’s departure from the StubHub Center, the second high-profile exit this week following Steven Gerrard’s decison to leave, brings an end to a highly-successful five year stint in Los Angeles. The 36-year-old scored 104 goals in 165 games, winning the MLS MVP in 2014 and was one of the best European imports the league has ever seen.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) November 17, 2016
But where next for Keane? His statement on Thursday suggested that he was quite eager to continue his playing career, and a striker with such a strong record will always have offers even if his powers have been on the wane in recent years.
Ultimately, Ireland’s record goalscorer won’t be short of options, that’s for sure…
Return To Celtic
Keane enjoyed a brief but productive loan spell at Celtic Park in the second half of the 2009-10 season. The striker scored 12 goals in 16 SPL games for the Bhoys (16 in 19 in all competitions), and despite only joining the club midway through the campaign, that haul was enough for Keane to be sixth in the top scorer charts at the end of the season.
Keane’s time at Parkhead saw him leave empty-handed as Celtic endured a rare barren year, so there is a decent chance he may want to return to a club he holds in such high regard to rectify that.
Return To England
Keane will (rightly or wrongly) maintain that he is still capable of performing at the top level in England, and that will be his first port of call when he goes looking for a new club, but he might find that those clubs don’t believe he has the legs for it anymore.
That being said, struggling Premier League clubs desperate for goals such as Sunderland or Hull may have a punt, faling that he will have a number of Championship clubs chasing him. Former clubs Wolves and Leeds have already been linked, as has the unlikely possibility of playing under potential MK Dons manager Steven Gerrard in League One.
Stay In The MLS
Despite the decision to leave the Galaxy, Keane is open to the possibility of staying in the MLS, ambiguously suggesting recently that remaining stateside is an option.
Should that happen, the first thought that springs to mind is that he could join former Ireland teammates Kevin Doyle and Sean St Ledger at Colorado Rapids. The Rapids are currently chasing MLS Cup glory, having recently ended Keane’s chances of a fourth title, and his signing would, they would hope, spring them to further glory.
League of Ireland
It’s unlikely, given the fact that Keane still sees himself of being able to operate at a higher level, but there is a slim chance that he might decide to move to the League of Ireland. Following old international teammate Damien Duff to Shamrock Rovers would be the most likely possibility should the former Tottenham and Liverpool forward return home, but, and again this is purely hypothesising, could Dundalk offer him a decent financial package and the prospect of European football to rock up at Oriel Park?
Probably not, but stranger things have happened.
Chinese Super League
From a purely financial point of view, China would offer Keane a package far higher than anything else he would receive in Europe or America.
However, with his aspirations of playing at a high a level as possible, and with a young family he would be wary of uprooting to yet another foreign country, the Chinese Super League is a highly unlikely option.
The public will find out in due course what is to be the “last big challenge” Keane was referring to, but even if the level he finds himself is not as high as he had been hoping, he can look back on the last five years and know that the “winding down” of his career has seen him become an LA Galaxy legend.
— LA Galaxy (@LAGalaxy) November 18, 2016
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