By Wayne Veysey

3rd Feb, 2017 | 12:20pm

Leeds will secure automatic promotion if they sign this free agent striker in the coming days

COMMENT By Editor Wayne Veysey

Plan A for Leeds in the January window was to sign a new striker. Garry Monk made that crystal clear.

The manager was forced to accept a plan B, or maybe even plan C, alternative in which two wingers – Alfonso Pedraza and Modou Barrow – joined on loan for the rest of the season.

But the club’s failure to bolster a forward line over reliant on Chris Wood for goals and impetus will seriously affect their promotion charge in the months ahead.

Pedraza and Barrow have the potential to make a major impact, with the Swansea man, who is already well acquainted with English football, looking a particularly shrewd purchase.

But neither have track records as prolific goalscorers, which is what Monk needs if Wood gets injured or the goals dry up, which is inevitable at some stage.

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However, there is still the potential for salvation for Monk and his coaching staff in the shape of the free agent market.

Strikers such as Dimitar Berbatov, Carlton Cole and Marouane Chamakh are among those without clubs after their contracts expired.

But there is an even better option available in veteran forward Robbie Keane, who is looking for a club after leaving LA Galaxy at the end of last year.

Now aged 36, Keane scored 15 goals in 52 matches for the Yorkshire giants earlier in his career when they were a Champions League calibre club and regular top-four finishers in the English top flight.

He has continued to score prolifically throughout his career, including in spells at Tottenham, Liverpool, Celtic, West Ham, Aston Villa and Coventry, and is ready for a return to an English club after plundering 104 goals in 165 LA Galaxy matches.

Keane would be an excellent short-term solution to Leeds’ striker requirements.

The 146-time Republic of Ireland international recently revealed that he had received offers from Championship clubs as he suggested that he was willing to drop down a division from the level where he has spent his entire career.

Crucially, he also demonstrated at Euro 2016 last summer that his ego is not so significant that he is unable to handle being used as an impact player from the substitute’s bench.

Keane has seen it, done it and bought the T-shirt in a goal-laden career and would be able to set a brilliant example to Leeds’ emerging stars.

He has also been banging in the goals in America and has the clinical touch to make a major impact in the Championship.

Indeed, if Leeds were to snap up the veteran front man in the coming days, they could do even better than just reach the play-offs, as appears to be the ambition for the fourth-placed side.

Keane’s arrival would given the team a huge shot in the arm and catapult them into an automatic promotion place and all the way back to the Premier League.

In other Leeds transfer news, the club came within a whisker of signing this goal machine on deadline day after holding extensive talks.

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