Soccer

Robbie Keane keen on Villa loan, McLeish says

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BIRMINGHAM, England (AP)

Teammates with Landon Donovan on the Los Angeles Galaxy, Robbie Keane could soon be playing against the American in an English Premier League match.

Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish said Thursday that his club has opened talks with Keane with a view to signing the 31-year-old forward on loan until March, when the Major League Soccer season begins.

If the Ireland captain completes his move to Villa Park over the next few days, his debut could come on Jan. 14 against Everton - the team Donovan has just joined on loan for the same period.

''We are certainly pursuing it and, at the moment, both parties are keen,'' said McLeish, who wants the move concluded by Monday.

Keane is currently training with his former club, Tottenham. He scored three goals for the Galaxy in the 2011 season and helped Ireland qualify for this year's European Championship.

''Robbie has got massive experience as a striker. That's first and foremost. He is a great character as well,'' McLeish said. ''Players can enlighten the dressing room as well, and these factors are all so important in this professional game.

''He is capable of hurting other teams with his team play. But, as it just so happens, he is also one of the brighter guys around football and has been for a long, long time.''

Keane has also played for Liverpool, Leeds, Coventry and West Ham in the Premier League, and also had a spell with Italian team Inter Milan in the 2000/01 season.

Thierry Henry is also trying to secure a move back to the Premier League during the MLS offseason, with Arsenal set to confirm the signing of its former captain once an insurance agreement is reached with the New York Red Bulls.

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