According to reports from The Lancashire Telegraph, Everton boss Ronald Koeman has revealed his interest in signing Burnley defender Michael Keane, although a transfer deal before tonight’s 11pm deadline has been described as ‘highly unlikely’.
“Yes, he is one of that list, like some more defenders. But I heard he is on more lists, in different teams.”
The former Manchester United youngster moved to Turf Moor, initially on loan, during the Clarets’ first Premier League campaign under Sean Dyche and has maintained his place in the first team ever since, now verging upon 100 appearances for the top-flight outfit.
But Keane’s form this season has reached new heights; he earned an inaugural England call-up in October after being mooted as a prime Chelsea target by The Daily Mail a month earlier. And as our infographic shows, the attention Keane’s been getting this term is more than justified…
A more old-fashioned centre-back than ball-playing compatriot John Stones, Keane excels in the nuts and bolts of the trade – ranking highly for blocks, interceptions, aerial duels and clearances this term.
But perhaps most impressively considering his age, 24, and the enormous responsibility placed on centre-backs in Dyche’s largely defensive set-up, he’s made just two defensive errors in 22 Premier League outings.
“I spoke to Phil and he accepts it — we spoke about his position and the need to fight like everybody who is not involved or starting because we need competition. We have a squad and those not starting need to fight. We need competition. I understand it’s difficult, he’s the captain, but we like to keep him because he can play an important role to the end of the season.”
Earlier this month, Koeman admitted club captain Phil Jagielka could leave in search of first-team football after losing his place in the starting XI and although he’s since ruled out a January move, the Dutchman also hinted at a departure at the end of the season (above).
With that in mind, we have a curious question for Everton fans; would Michael Keane be the perfect long-term replacement for Jagielka? Let us know your thoughts below…