Keane deal appears imminent

Aston Villa's bid to acquire Galaxy forward Robbie Keane in a two-month loan deal appears to be near completion, with speculation in the British and Irish press that the move will be finalized by early next week.

Villa manager Alex McLeish suggested as much when he spoke to media Friday in Birmingham.

“[The deal] is not far away, but I don't like to commit myself until it actually is done,” McLeish said. “[Our] club have sanctioned the deal. They didn't think it was too bad an idea or too big a risk. ... Robbie has got good experience, he is good in the dressing room and he is highly motivated. He has got a certain competition to play at the end of the season with [Ireland, at Euro 2012], so he wants to maintain his level. He wants to come here, and we would be trying to get things cleared for next week."

The Irish Central website reported the loan fee would approach $1 million for as few as six games. British wire service The Press Association on Thursday priced the deal at nearly $775,000.

Dublin daily Evening Herald reported that Liverpool also is interested in Keane, as a replacement for Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez, who was handed an eight-game suspension for racist behavior.

Aston Villa hopes to have Keane ready for its next Premier League match, Jan. 14 against Everton, which has Galaxy captain Landon Donovan on loan.

If Keane were to join Villa, he would available for these games:

Jan. 14 vs. Everton

Jan. 21 at Wolverhampton

Jan. 28 FA Cup fourth round (if Villa beats Bristol Rovers on Saturday)

Feb. 1 vs. Queens Park Rangers

Feb. 5 at Newcastle United

Feb. 12 vs. Manchester City

Feb. 18 FA Cup round of 16 (potential)

Feb. 25 at Wigan Athletic

The Galaxy will begin preseason preparations later this month. They'll open the Major League Soccer season March 10 against Real Salt Lake at Home Depot Center, three days after their first-leg match at Toronto FC in the CONCACAF Champions League.

ELSEWHERE: In other MLS news ...

  • Colorado signed defender Hunter Freeman, whom it claimed from Houston in the second-stage re-entry draft. He played 47 MLS games for the Rapids in 2005-06.

  • Vancouver signed 6-foot-3 Argentine defender Fernando Martin Bonjour, 26, from Uruguayan club Liverpool.

  • English club Bolton has made a formal offer for New York Red Bulls center back Tim Ream, ESPN reports.

  • New York forward Thierry Henry's loan deal to Arsenal has been completed, and the Frenchman will be available for the Gunners in Monday's F.A. Cup third-round match against Leeds United.

  • Inaugural Chivas USA head coach Thomas Rongen has been appointed director of Toronto FC's academy. The Dutch-born former NASL standout (Los Angeles Aztecs, 1979-80) was MLS's Coach of the Year after guiding the Tampa Bay Mutiny to the Supporters' Shield in 1996, the league's first season, and led D.C. United to the 1999 MLS Cvup title. He also has coached New England and twice served as U.S. under-20 coach.