Kevin Keegan, who recently was named European soccer player of 1978, is being actively pursued by the Washington Diplomats.
Keegan, 27, a right wing, has played on the English National Team on numerous occasions and signed a reported $200,000-a-year contract with Hamburg SV of the German First Division in 1977. That figure was about five times higher than the salary being earned by any English league player at the time.
"Gordon Bradley (Diplomat coach) has met informally with Keegan on several occasions," Washington General Manager John Carbray said yesterday. "Any club in the world would be interested in Keegan if he were available, but we have not made him a formal offer."
Other sources reported that, althgough the Dips have not made a specific offer to Keegan, who has one year on his contract with Hamburg, they have talked to him seriously about coming to Washington in 1979.
European newspapers reported recently that the Diplomats, purchased by Gulf and Western in October, and the Tampa Bay Rowdies both have made multimillion-dollar offers to Keegan.
If Keegan came to Washington he would receive a multiyear contract worth at least $250,000 annually, sources said. That figure would give him a salary approximately 10 times the salaries of Jim Steele and Paul Cannell, the Dips' highest paid players in 1978.
Bradley was in Toronto yesterday but may fly to Germany next week to meet with Keegan again.
Sources in New York reported that league officials thought there was "an excellent chance" that Keegan would land in Washington.
"When Madison Square Garden bought the team and said it was willing to spend money on players the guys (Bardley and Carbray) said they wanted, the No. 1 priority was Kevin Keegan," one source said. "They told the Garden that if they wanted the next superstar in the world, Keegan was it."
Keegan, 5-foot-8 and 150 pounds, is known for his speed and is considered equally adept at passing the ball and at shooting it. He led Liverpool to the European Cup in the spring of 1977 before signing with Hamburg. He was runner-up for European Player of the Year that season before winning the award for 1978 by a landslide vote.