Should We Be Keen On Keane?

Last updated : 21 November 2005 By Kevin Smith
In Manchester United's Old Trafford Stadium in 2001, Celtic were the visitors in the Ryan Giggs testimonial match.  I am sure I am not the only one who can recall several thousand Celtic supporters belting out, "Keano For Celtic!"  In the coming weeks, it seems their wish could come true.

Since Roy Keane's sudden departure from Manchester United on Friday, everywhere you look there is someone giving an opinion on why Celtic should or should not sign him.

Keane is now the talk of the steamie, and I think it is fair to say that the Celtic supporters' feelings are mixed when it comes to deciding if we want him here or not.

To start, we have to look at Keane's current situation. First and foremost, Keane would have to want to play for Celtic. Now, from what we are told, he is a Celtic supporter and has been all his life. We know that he attended the UEFA Cup Final in Seville and he has been spotted at several other Celtic matches - most notably the 3-0 victory at Ibrox in 2001.

So I reckon we can tick that box. Celtic will be the team Roy Keane will want to serve for what will probably be the final couple of years of his career.  He has said he will not play in the Premiership and do remember he has a family and it would probably be a bad idea to move abroad for such a short space of time.

After leaving United, he is now a free agent and is not tied to any club. Celtic would not have to pay a penny in transfer fees, but many believe money is where we will encounter problems in attempting to sign the Irishman.  Wages is the word on everyone's lips and it could possibly be a massive stumbling block in securing Roy Keane's services.

We are told Keane's weekly wage at Manchester United was around £90,000.  It is laughable to even suggest Celtic would be able to offer this much, as the figure covers roughly six current first team players' wages.  Several newspapers today have stated that when Keane left United, there was an agreement that the club will continue to pay him this weekly sum until the end of the current season.

So we are looking at a guy who is earning almost £100,000 a week for not actually doing anything.  If Celtic  were to sign Roy Keane, the most they would offer him per week would be around £20,000.  If he was signed on an 18-month deal and Celtic paid his £20,000 per week starting at the end of this season, he would make roughly £2.5 Million between now and the end of the contract.  Not bad for a 34 year old.

Another scenario would be Celtic offer a 'pay as you play' contract, which would probably benefit the club more than the player.  But he is a fit man who is rarely absent through injury, and I see no need for this to happen.

If Keane is, as we are led to believe, a Celtic fanatic, he will take the wage cut and sign.  A 20-odd percent wage decrease would be more than adequate to house him and his family in Scotland for a year or two.  Anything else and it becomes sheer greed.

So the wages shouldn't be too big an issue.

Roy Keane is 34 years old, and is approaching the end of his professional footballing career.  So why would any club blow a large chunk of their wage bill to accomodate him? 

The man is a European Cup Winner and was previously the Captain of the world's biggest club.  He has won several Premiership titles and has cut it at the highest level throughout his footballing days.  I find it hard to disagree with Alex Ferguson, who claimed Keane was the best midfielder in the world at the peak of his career.

Keane is a winner and wears his heart on his sleeve.  His influence in the Celtic dressing room would be massive and signing him would be a huge boost for everyone at the club.  He is a fantastic footballer and would easily be able to cope in the SPL at 34.

However, many see Keane's temprement and outspoken attitude as a potential problem and they view him as a troublemaker.  Who could forget his walking out of the Republic of Ireland's World Cup campaign in 2002 after a bust-up with then manager Mick McCarthy, over the side's training facilities?  And his latest outburst during the recording of a programme for MUTV, which was eventually pulled from going on air by boss Alex Ferguson?

Yes, it would be a risk taking him on, but I believe it would be well worth it.

If Celtic were to sign Keane, where would they play him?  He is primarily a midfielder but is also a fantastic defender as he has shown in recent European Cup ties for Man United.  Obviously, we need as healthy a squad as we can get an he would be a fantastic addition to Gordon Strachan's team.  There is also a good chance Neil Lennon will leave the club in June, and Keane would be able to do his job for next season.

I do agree that our main priority should be securing the forseeable future of Stillian Petrov.  If you had to ask me to choose between having Roy Keane for a year and a half or holding on to Stan for another four years, I'd have to go with the Bulgarian.  But there is no reason why we cannot sort out deals for both players.

I believe Roy Keane would be an absolute sensation at Celtic Park.  He would be an instant hit with the supporters and the attributes he would bring to the Celtic side would be worth their weight in gold.  I can also picture a particular Rangers forum going into meltdown as 60,000 Celtic supporters welcome 'Keano' to Paradise. 

Make it happen, Celtic.