The 2016-17 season is approaching its climax and the teams have already begun their preparations for the summer transfer window. A few players have drawn the attention of multiple big outfits with their stellar performances and Burnley’s centre-back, Michael Keane is certainly one of them who probably tops the list among emerging English internationals.
Keane, a former Manchester United academy graduate, was outcast and shown the door by former Red Devils’ boss Louis Van Gaal after a few loan spells in the Championship. His loan stint with newly promoted Burnley was made permanent by the Clarets on 8th January 2015 for an undisclosed fee as they tied him down to a three-and-a-half-year contract.
Burnley got relegated to the Championship despite glimpses of promise but Keane became a key figure in Sean Dyche’s squad and guided his side to earn another promotion to the Premier League. Burnley are currently 13th in the league table with nine games remaining in the competition and Keane has become the backbone of the Clarets.
The 24 years old centre-back has already made 33 appearances in all competitions during this campaign and his eminence has earned him his international debut against Germany on Wednesday when the youngster featured the full 90 minutes in England’s 1-0 defeat. His performance, however, was highly acknowledged and several top Premier League outfits have shown serious interest to add him to their squad.
Liverpool, Everton, Manchester City, Chelsea have enquired about his availability and even Manchester United are not ruling out the possibility of re-signing their outcast just like they bought back Paul Pogba last summer.
Keane is strong in the air, has very good vision and concentration as well as blocking and intercepting attributes. A little untidy while tackling at times, he is physically strong and has leadership traits to guide the back-line.
Meanwhile, Chelsea have emerged as his latest admirers and Antonio Conte has reportedly been impressed with his defensive quality and concentration. Chelsea will part ways with John Terry at the end of this campaign and with a return to Champions League football from next season, the Blues need to reinforce and add more names alongside Gary Cahill, Kurt Zouma and David Luiz to strengthen their defence.
Michael Keane, who can be put in either right-hand side or in the middle of Conte’s three-man backline, will suit in his deep-defending system as he has already proved his worth in Sean Dyche’s ultra-defensive strategy against top Premier League outfits.
Keane’s contract will run down in summer 2018 and the Clarets have failed to tie him down despite offering lucrative contract offers. Burnley value the defender at £20 million and will listen to offers after being frustrated with futile contract talks. Keane, however, is aware of the interests but wants to focus on the remainder of the campaign with his current employers:
‘It’s flattering, but I’m focused on Burnley. We’ve got nine games left in the season and we need to make sure we remain in the league. But to see things like that can only mean you’re playing well.’