The Washington Diplomats and Kevin Keegan, 1978 European footballer of the year, have reached a verbal agreement calling for Keegan to play for the Dips the next three years for a figure in excess of $1 million.
Although Washington officials would not comment on reports out of Germany yesterday that Keegan will play in about 20 of the Dips' 30 games this season, it was learned that Coach Gordon Bradley will fly to Germany Wednesday to conclude the arrangement.
"We are still negotiating with Keegan but we have not signed him," Dip General Manager John Carbray said yesterday. "We hope to sign him for 1979 but are still not finished negotiating."
Informed sources indicated, however, that the Dips and Keegan have verbally agreed on a figure that would pay Keegan mone money than the entire Washington theam was paid in 1978.
Bradley's trip to Europe is merely a formality, sources said. Keegan will sign a three-year agreement that will allow Keegan to continue playing for Hamburg S.V. in the German League while playing about 70 percent of the North American Soccer League season.
Bradley said Keegan promised him "first refusal" if he decided to play with an NASL club. When he talked with Keegan last week, Bradley said, the 27-year-old told him he was seeking a clause in his contract that would allow him to play with Washington this summer.
Under terms disclosed by Guenter Netzer, general manager of Hamburg S.V., yesterday, Keegan could join the Diplomats June 10, the day after Hamburg's last league game against Bayern Munich.
Netzer also said he hoped Keegan could rejoin the Hamburg club by the mid-August start of the new European season. If the Diplomats make the NASL finals, Keegan would stay here until Sept. 9, Netzer said.
Keegan, 5 foot 9 and 150 pounds, is a forward noted for his passing ability and speed. When he signed with Hamburg in 1977 it was for a reported $200,000, five times what any player was making in the English Football League. He is considered by most soccer people as one of the top three players in the world.
The Dips also are negotiating with Daniel Passarella, captain of Argentina's National team, which won the 1978 World Cup.
Sources said yesterday the dips are "90 percent of the way," towards signing Passarella, a midfielder, who at 25 is rated highly at his position.