After a pair of commanding performances for England against Germany and Lithuania, Michael Keane has proved that he can cope with international football. There will be bigger tests to come but he drew a lot of plaudits in both games from neutrals – of course this is something Clarets’ fans have seen all season.
Keane should be on the radar of all the top clubs in England. There is not one team who couldn’t say that he wouldn’t make them better in defence, with the possible exception of Chelsea. Even then he would be a long term replacement for Gary Cahill who hasn’t really developed since he joined the London club in my opinion.
I saw a stat today saying Keane had completed 100 long balls this season, which is the same amount as David Luiz. Situations are hugely different of course, but Keane’s distribution from the back is one of his best features, something that neither John Stones or Chris Smalling offer either.
In his career with Burnley so far, Keane has been through a relegation campaign, even though he wasn’t a regular starter in 2014-15 when we made his loan move permanent in January. He signed from Manchester United who, under Louis van Gaal decided that Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair were better options, as well as signing a whole host of players from abroad. This narrowmindedness could cost United dearly, Keane would be a superb signing for them but they could miss out now.
Mixed reports exist concerning the deal between the two clubs, some suggesting United have a 25% sell-on clause. Even if that is the case, any club have to stump up a lot of cash for Keane to make the move.
Burnley themselves are in a strong position too. Keane will be playing Premier League football next season, and Burnley have a strong case for saying it should be with them.
By all but securing our place next year, who’s to say we can’t offer Keane everything he wants at Turf Moor? A vastly improved contract laden with bonuses and buy out clauses would probably increase his value further, the same way Kieran Trippier signed a new deal shortly before moving to White Hart Lane just under two years ago.
Even if Keane couldn’t be persuaded to extend his Turf Moor stay – we have no need to sell. We are in a strong position financially and can demand any kind of fee for Keane, especially now that he has 2 full international caps.
I could even see Man City making a move for the young centre half, as him and Stones seemed to have a good partnership on Sunday afternoon – but would he desert the red half of Manchester to play at the Etihad? Probably not.
The best case scenario for the Clarets, aside from a new deal, would be a bidding war between some of the top clubs for Keane. The Stones comparison may seem lazy but it’s a good barometer for player value and to be frank in the past 12 months Stones has not been as good as Keane – if you think different then please say, I haven’t seen much if any progression in Stones’ game at all, even before he joined City.
Whatever happens this summer, Burnley fans can be rightly proud that they have helped nurture a talent for the national setup and I hope wherever he goes he will cherish his time at Burnley.