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Tottenham Hotspur's Robbie Keane stretches out for a through ball against Stoke City during their match in the Premier League football match at White Hart Lane in London, on October 24, 2009. AFP PHOTO/Chris Ratcliffe


The Vancouver Whitecaps are playing coy over a report linking them to a move for star Irish striker Robbie Keane.

The Sun, an English tabloid, suggested over the weekend that the Ireland captain was headed for the Major League Soccer expansion franchise.

But Whitecaps chief executive officer Paul Barber - a former executive director of Tottenham, Keane's current club - said such speculation was premature.

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"We haven't made any firm decisions on designated players but over the next few weeks, that's going to be at the top of our agenda as we move into the January transfer window," Barber said after a news conference to discuss a partnership with EA Sports. "There are a lot of great players out there.

"Robbie Keane, having worked with him for five years - fantastic player, great guy - but we've got our minds open to a very large market."

Keane has 121 goals in 332 Premier League games, but is scoreless in just five appearances this season.

He's also the Irish national team's all-time leading scorer with 45 goals in 104 appearances.

The Whitecaps begin play in 2011 and may be intent on adding a big name for their debut.

"We've said from the start with designated players if they're out there and they're available and we can afford them and they fit into our roster, then we'd look at the opportunities," said Barber.

Last week, Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi said his team was not yet ready to go the big-ticket designated player route.

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"We feel it's too early for us to be looking at a DP (designated player) before we establish the core of our squad," he said.

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