Robbie Keane last night revealed David Beckham had played a part in his move to Major League Soccer as he completed his transfer from Tottenham to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
Keane had been in discussions with the MLS club over a move after it became clear he was surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane.
The Republic of Ireland captain admitted earlier this week he thought his time at Tottenham was coming to an end, and the move to join Beckham’s team in a £3.5m transfer was finally completed yesterday evening.
“Tottenham can announce that it has reached agreement with Major League Soccer side LA Galaxy for the permanent transfer of Robbie Keane,” a statement on the Spurs website read.
Negotiations between the two parties had been held up by MLS rules, which state that any franchise must have only three high-earning squad members, known as “designated players”.
Keane will join Beckham, Juan Pablo Angel and Landon Donovan, all three of whom have played in the Premier League, at the Galaxy – although Angel is believed to be negotiating a release.
He revealed a chat with new team-mate Beckham was key to persuading him to move to the United States.
“I am delighted, honoured and very excited to be joining the LA Galaxy,” Keane told The Galaxy’s website.
“I have always wanted to come and play in MLS so it’s the perfect combination for me and a dream come true.
“My family and I have already been made to feel very welcome in telephone calls from (Galaxy owner) Tim Leiweke and (manager) Bruce Arena.
“Also when David Beckham came and trained at Spurs (in January) recently he couldn’t speak highly enough about the Galaxy, their fans and the league in general, so I can’t wait to get over and get started.”
Keane’s departure brings to an end his second spell at White Hart Lane.
The 31-year-old made 254 appearances for Spurs during his first stint between 2002 and 2008, during which time he scored 107 goals and quickly became a fan favourite.
Keane played regularly under Harry Redknapp during his first season back but the arrival of Rafael Van der Vaart last summer reduced his first-team opportunities and he was shipped out on loan to West Ham, where he failed to make an impact.
But the former Inter Milan striker, who is joining his ninth club, is confident he will be good enough to score goals in the MLS and is looking forward to the challenge.
“I have already discussed football with Bruce Arena and I know exactly what he wants from me,” Keane added. “I am fit, fresh and ready to go. I’ve come here to score goals and help this team achieve their goals.
“This is a massive opportunity for me in my career. I aim to grab it with both hands and hopefully help give the Galaxy fans what they want.”
Arena, whose side currently top the Western Conference of the MLS, added: “Robbie Keane will be a great addition to our club. I have followed his career and have always respected his ability as a competitor and a goalscorer.
“I believe that he brings qualities in and around the penalty area that we have been lacking. Hopefully, he will be another piece of the puzzle in our quest for the Supporters’ Shield and an MLS Cup championship as well as to advance to the next round of the CONCACAF Champions League.”