Everton outcast wanted by relegation rival as Ornstein reveals only hurdle in England international’s move

Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane Everton TEAMtalk Credit: Alamy
Ben Godfrey, Michael Keane Everton TEAMtalk Credit: Alamy

An Everton defender is being increasingly linked with a move to Southampton this month, and David Ornstein has revealed the primary barrier preventing a move thus far.

The former England international has been out of favour with Frank Lampard this season, which suggests he would be willing to let Keane leave if a suitable offer is tabled.

Southampton currently sit bottom of the Premier League table after failing to win in their last seven outings. Defensive recruits look a necessity with a relegation scrap appearing inevitable under new manager Nathan Jones.

Everton are in dire form too, after picking up just two points from their last seven league games. Huge pressure is mounting on Frank Lampard, as well as on the Toffees’ board.

Today, as reported by Royal Blue MerseyEverton fan groups and social media pages sent an open letter to majority shareholder Farhad Moshiri, demanding change at board, chair and executive levels. Anger among the club’s fanbase is brewing at Goodison Park.

However, Lampard and Everton director of football Kevin Thelwell are still focused on January business. But due to years of overspending and financial constraints, they have very little to spend this January.

In that sense, selling Keane could be a smart move to fund some of their own signings, especially considering the Blues boss doesn’t seem to trust him.

Since joining Everton in 2017, the centre-back has played a total of 189 matches across all competitions, scoring 11 times. That included a vital goal in their penultimate game of the season in 2021/22 as they came back from 2-0 down against Crystal Palace to secure their Premier League survival.

However, Keane has struggled for consistency over the last few years, making countless errors leading to goals.

This season, he has played just 22 minutes of Premier League football, and is behind the likes of James Tarkowski, Ben Godfrey, Conor Coady and Yerry Mina in the pecking order.

Therefore, as reported by The Athletic, Everton will let Keane leave this month on a permanent basis and Southampton are currently the frontrunners for his signature.

Southampton eye Keane as need for defensive reinforcements clear

The Saints have conceded the third-most goals in the English top flight this season.

With this in mind, it would be a smart move for Jones to add some quality defensive reinforcements and Keane could be a fairly cheap option.

The piece’s author, David Ornstein, noted Southampton would prefer a loan deal as opposed to an outright sale. Understandably, the Toffees want to move Keane on for good if he does depart. If neither club are willing to compromise, a deal looks difficult to make.

While his performances haven’t been great lately, he did find some excellent form under Carlo Ancelotti and does have 12 England caps and one international goal to his name.

From Keane’s point of view, this could be an opportunity to become a regular feature in the Premier League once again and regain his previous form. However, he will have to be at the top of his game to help the Saints avoid the drop.

West Ham have also registered an signing Keane this month, so Southampton may face competition for his signature.

Transfermarkt value Keane at an estimated £14m, but due to Everton’s desperation for transfer funds, it is believed that they would accept a bid much lower than that.

So, it could be a punt worth taking for Jones, as he looks to get Southampton’s season back on track.

READ MORE: Huge boost for Man Utd, Chelsea as Everton star discovers Erling Haaland ‘weakness’ ahead of Prem clashes

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