Keane gone. Replacement needed?

Robbie Keane’s return to Tottenham looks almost certain to go through today, despite Rafa Benitez’s rather strange claims yesterday that he believes Keane will be a Liverpool player when the transfer window closes.

Reports suggest a cash only deal has been agreed and therefore we won’t be seeing Aaron Lennon coming in the opposite direction.

I don’t want to dwell too much on the rights and wrongs of the whole Keane fiasco, other than that I feel desperately sorry for the player himself and I remain baffled as to why he was ever signed. Those who claim Rick Parry ‘signed’ him are wide of the mark, of course Keane must have been wanted by Benitez. Parry doesn’t go out signing players unless Benitez first identifies them as a target. The problem between the two was the valuation of the player and the knock-on effect it had on Benitez’s number one target, Gareth Barry.

So just why on earth did Benitez want Keane in the first place? We all saw how effective the Gerrard-Torres partnership was in the second half of last season, and with 4-2-3-1 widely accepted as Rafa’s preferred formation, where exactly did Keane fit into his plans? Was it that Benitez intended to play 4-4-2 this season but then didn’t see the combination of Keane and Torres working so changed tact and reverted back to 4-2-3-1 once Torres regained fitness? Quite possibly. We’ll never know for sure but it’s baffling nonetheless.

With Keane’s departure we are left severely lacking in attack. Another injury to Torres would see us with only Dirk Kuyt as an established first team striker – although he has played the last year as a winger and so arguably leaves us with none. Only the struggling Ryan Babel and youngster David N’gog are other options for Benitez. There’s Andriy Voronin out on loan but im sure not many fans would be too optimistic if he was recalled to help aid our title challenge.

Whether the deadline for the transfer window gets extended or not, I hope we get somebody in as a replacement for Keane – even if only a loan deal. [We’re currently being linked with Javier Saviola, who is out of favour at Real Madrid.]

There’s also the fact a replacement needs to be found for Keane in the Champions League squad, and that player needs to be British trained so a foreign signing won’t do the trick there. Aaron Lennon would have fit the bill and also provided some pace out wide with him comfortable on either wing. Maybe if we’d have got, or do get, Lennon it would see Benitez using Kuyt through the middle more often.

The next few hours will prove very interesting, I just hope we bring somebody in rather than losing a player who could, despite his clear differences with Benitez, have played a part in our league run-in both on and off the pitch with a strong personality in the changing room. The games are coming thick and fast in all competitions now.

If we don’t get anyone in, pray to god Torres doesn’t get injured…

What do you think? Do we need to replace Keane? Let us know in the comments below: