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Could Michael Keane make a return to the Theatre of Dreams this summer?

Manchester United sold Michael Keane to Burnley for £2 million during the summer of 2014 when the club was managed by Louis van Gaal. At the time, many saw it as another player who was not good enough for the club, but in the three years following his departure, Keane has played well for Burnley, also earning an England call-up, which he did quite well in during the internationals in March 2017. During his debut season for Burnley, in the Championship, the former Red Devil made 23 appearances with the club being relegate to the Championship. The following season (2015/16) Keane made 46 appearances for the club, scoring five goals, which for a central defender is not a bad tally.

Burnley were the champions that season, beating Middlesbrough to the crown by four points, winning promotion to the Premier League. In Keane’s return to the Premier League, of which he has made his debut against Sunderland days before he left United, he was a play gaining some traction. Keane has made 37 appearances for Burnley so far this season, scoring two goals, which is nothing on his haul last season, but when you think about the fact he is playing in a tougher league, it is still progress for the 24-year-old. Keane’s two appearances for England earlier this season against Germany and Lithuania will show how well he is doing, and could well be the future for England with the uncertainty surrounding Phil Jones and Chris Smalling through injury and Gareth Southgate needing to find players to carry the defensive abilities required to play for the country. I personally view Keane’s departure from United to be a mistake, as there was something about the lad. Perhaps he would not be the player he is today if he remained at United, seemingly needed a chance away from the club to prove himself, which he has started to do. Keane is a player who has been linked with moves to

I personally view Keane’s departure from United to be a mistake, as there was something about the lad. Perhaps he would not be the player he is today if he remained at United, seemingly needed a chance away from the club to prove himself, which he has started to do. Keane is a player who has been linked with moves to Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Liverpool and Manchester United. A £30 million deal, which has been touted, would see Burnley make a killing on the play they purchased nearly three years ago.

What is being reported and by who?

The Mirror are currently reporting that Michael Keane would be interested in a move back to the Theatre of Dreams this summer with Jose Mourinho seemingly interested in bringing the England international back to the club. The report suggests that United have a sell on clause, which would see them make 25% of the final transfer fee if Keane does leave Burnley this summer. United would be willing to waive that in order to get their man. The Telegraph have linked Keane to Tottenham Hotspur, which could see the way for Eric Dier to leave the club for Manchester United, providing the reported interest in the player was true and not click bait speculation, which seems to be the case with many transfer rumours recently.

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino is looking for versatile players, seeing Keane as the player that could help him change the club’s fortunes, and with them challenging Chelsea for the Premier League title this season, could be a big boost for both Spurs and Keane. The Metro, perhaps one of the most unreliable mediums out there, state that £30 million will be the fee United will pay for Keane, but they were carrying the earlier reports by the Mirror. Today, it has been reported that Keane will leave Burnley this summer despite the club keen to keep hold of the player. These reports come from Sky Sports, which could well be correct. Burnley will obviously want to keep hold of a player who has developed at the club and one playing so well currently.

What type of player is Michael Keane?

Michael Keane is a product of Manchester United Academy, signing a professional contract on his 18th birthday, the 11th January 2011. He made his first team debut in October that year in the League Cup fourth round victory over Aldershot Town. Keane is a central defender with ability on the ball. His time at United was cut short by Louis van Gaal in September 2014 with his transfer to Burnley. He has previously played on loan for Leicester City, Derby County and Blackburn Rovers, so his move to Burnley was not a shock to the system based on his previous experience in the Championship. Former Manchester United captain and central defender Rio Ferdinand suggested that Keane at 24 is playing like he played at the same age. Speaking to The Sunday Times, Ferdinand said:

“I’ve known him since he was a kid at Manchester United. He and his brother, Will, have the same management company as me and I mentor them. I stay in contact with Keane by text and when I’m in Manchester we go for dinner, talk football and just chill. He’s like I was at 24: a great sponge. He’s from a great family and had a good school upbringing. He’s very mature for his age – one you’d want your daughter to bring home. He never blames others, which is refreshing because not all the younger generation of players are like that. Michael is a throwback – and other youngsters should look at him for inspiration.”

Many Manchester United supporters may feel that Louis van Gaal was right to sell Michael Keane, but based on ability on the ball, he was always going to be a rising star. Yes, he may not be a big name in the game, but why should a club only be interested in big name signings? Supporters need to realise that having a galactico team is not always the answer. Having players that do what they are needed to is an answer, and developing a place who was part of the club’s academy is a good thing and will only increase the profile of what United are doing even more. Yes, Paul Pogba was allowed to leave, somewhat reluctantly, nearly five years ago and United had to pay a massive £89 million fee to bring him back. Doing that again, a third of that at least may seem to be something United may do for the second time, does not suggest as a club they have done something wrong, although the sale of Keane may have been wrong at the time, he was hardly going to get the games he needed in order to develop.

Likelihood of the transfer?

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho is looking for reinforcements this summer and the defence is something that does need strengthening with both Phil Jones and Chris Smalling suffering injuries again this season, players who fit the bill, even more, may be something Mourinho is looking for. Michael Keane is homegrown and had come through United’s academy, meaning that as a replacement for either Jones or Smalling, United will be getting a like for like in terms of a homegrown player, only Keane is club developed, meaning he would be a better option being that Jones was developed by Blackburn Rovers and Smalling by Fulham. With United looking for reinforcement, which can be seen by the fact Victor Lindelof, Jose Gimenez and more defenders seem to be linked to the club, the fact that Mourinho will purchase a central defender seems very high. However, it is yet to be seen whether this will be Keane, which would be another return of a class of 2011 player with Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba reunited at the club.

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