On this day: Robbie Keane joins Coventry City

LA Galaxy captain Robbie Keane in action against Seattle Sounders on November 18, 2012
© Getty Images
Back on this day in 1999, Coventry City broke the British transfer record for a teenager to sign Robbie Keane from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Having plied his trade in four different countries, Robbie Keane has commanded around £70m in transfer fees during his career.

Inter Milan once paid £13m for the Republic of Ireland striker, while Leeds United and Liverpool shelled out £12m and £19m respectively for his services.

However, big fees were also being spent on Keane at the age of just 19. Having scored 29 goals in a little over two seasons with Wolverhampton Wanderers in the First Division, Premier League clubs started to circle. Sir Alex Ferguson ruled Manchester United out of the running, but Aston Villa and Coventry City remained keen.

It would be the Sky Blues that eventually won the race for Keane's signature, paying out a then British record £6m fee for a teenager 15 years ago today.

Speaking about his recruit, Coventry manager Gordon Strachan said at the time: "Speculation about Robbie had been going on for over a year and I was impressed with the way he handled it. There was a lot of pressure on the young man but during it he improved as a player. That showed me he is mentally strong.

"I see him either as a goal scorer or a goal creator. He can do either job. He is one of the best prospects in the game and it says a lot for Wolves youth system. They have brought him up the right way.

"A few people may scratch their heads and wonder why he has come to us. Well we are having a bash at it. People should say 'good for them'. Some people talk ambition, but we set out to try and do it - action not words. Any transfer is a gamble. This is a courageous move by us. We watch players for a long time but we have done more homework on Robbie than anyone else."

Meanwhile, a young Keane added: "I am glad it's all over. I am pleased it's settled because it has been going on for a long time. I did want to play in the Premiership with Wolves but it was not to be, but they are a big club and I am sure they will get there. Maybe the money they have got for me will enable them to do it.

"I had a long talk with Gordon Strachan before I signed and he told me about Coventry's hopes and ambitions. He told me about the new stadium being built over the next two years and it is all very exciting.

"I wanted to be part of it. I also knew of Mr Strachan's reputation for improving young players. He has played football at the very highest level and all that came into it. The size of the fee does not bother me. I just want to concentrate 100% on my football."

Keane went on to have a dream debut, scoring both of Coventry's goals in a 2-0 victory over Derby County at Highfield Road. He would go on to score a total of 12 goals that season, which brought about the interest from Inter in the summer of 2000.

The move to the San Siro didn't work out, though, and he soon returned to the Premier League with Leeds. That was followed by two stints with Tottenham, as well as time with Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham United, Aston Villa and currently Los Angeles Galaxy.

Darren Huckerby in action for Coventry City on January 01, 1998.
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