The U’s make Keith Keane the club's third summer signing.
Cambridge United announce the signing of Keith Keane from Preston North End, with the centre midfielder committing his future to the club until the end of 2016/17 season.
Renowned for his competitive and combative nature, the former Luton Town stalwart is certain to add punch to the U’s midfield next season.
Beginning his career at just 16-years old with his hometown club, Keane fast became a talisman for the Hatters during a nine year spell that saw him feature 237 times, which included two full campaigns in the Championship.
His time at Kenilworth Road came to end in 2012, when Graham Westley secured his services in League One for Preston North End, where he helped guide the side to the play-offs in his second season at Deepdale.
More recently, successful loan spells at Stevenage and League One side Crawley Town have seen Keane notch up a further 27 Football League appearances, ensuring he brings bags of experience to the U’s.
The 28-year old’s switch to the Abbey Stadium is yet another positive step in the right direction for Cambridge United as they prepare their new-look squad for the 2015/16 Football League season, having already made a statement of intent with the signatures of strong defensive pairing Leon Legge and Mark Roberts.
Like both of his preceding arrivals, Keane is set to add further knowledge of playing at levels beyond League Two, indicating promising signs of a successful campaign for the U’s.
Speaking to Cambridge-United.co.uk about joining the club, Keane envisages an extensive and successful period at the Abbey Stadium, with the standard of player that United have already signed acting as a real attraction when making his decision.
“I do see a long term future here because I like the vision of the club,” he said.
“I like the manager [Richard Money] and the type of people that he and the Chief Executive [Jez George] are attempting to bring here.
“The steps they are taking to get this club into League One is why I have chosen Cambridge. The ambition and aim is to be promoted and not to mess about, I am coming here to win football matches.”
He continued, “I have played against both Mark [Roberts] and Leon [Legge], and they are both very good defenders. To have signed them is a big positive for the club and I’m sure they’ll play well for the team.
“For me it doesn’t matter how much talent a player has if number one they do not work hard. I’m sure the manager will want every player on the same page, working hard and pulling the club in the right direction.
“When you get to that point you can let the natural ability take over.”
“I’m very happy to have got the deal done and now I’m just looking forward to getting into pre-season and then the start of the new season.”
Keane’s arrival ensures the central midfielder is reunited with Cambridge United manager Richard Money, having spent two seasons under the 59-year old’s stewardship at Luton Town.
Delighted to have snapped up the former Republic of Ireland U21 international once more, the U’s boss believes a matured Keane can play a vital role in the middle of the field for his side next season.
“I suppose in the key positions on the pitch it does help if you have a knowledge of the player, which is certainly the case with myself and Keith,” said the U’s boss.
“He is only 28-years old but already he’s got over 350 games under his belt which has matured him.
“Keith played for Stevenage against us here last season and impressed me, and Jez and I went to see him play at Burton and again he was very good on the night. Having had the chance to speak to him, it’s clear to see he has become a real good guy.
“There is no doubt for me he has matured as a person and that he has a fantastic footballing knowledge, which I hope he’ll bring to the pitch in a key area of the field for us next season.”