Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal is, according to reports, going to get rid of between five and seven players this summer depending on which newspaper you read, which suggests that something has gone a miss somewhere, or various newspapers have added names to cast more speculation a sell their stories. I am sure Van Gaal and Manchester United will make an announcement at some stage, which will either confirm or deny the rumours in the press. One player that has been linked with an exit from Old Trafford, albeit temporary is Michael Keane. The defender spent last season on loan with Derby County and Blackburn Rovers, doing well on both loan spells, but during the latter he was played at right-back, as well as a central defender at times, which has shown that he could be a utility type player for the club in the future.
Keane was taken to the United States of America on the clubs pre-season tour and given playing time by Van Gaal, impressing on occasion, but against Liverpool in the final of the Guinness International Champions Cup, he gave away a penalty which gave Liverpool the lead in the match. That could be something that suggests he needs a bit more experience before he is given a position in the first team. Rumours of the loan deal for the defender appeared on Wales Online on Sunday, suggesting that Louis van Gaal feels the defender has a future at Old Trafford, but could do with another spell on loan. Ryan Giggs was said to have recommended Cardiff City because of former United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer being their manager and the fact that he would be able to continue the young defenders development in line with how it would have continued at the Old Trafford club.
Keane is no stranger to being loaned out. The season before last he spent time with Barclays Premier League new boys Leicester City and was highly rated by sections of the clubs supporters because of his ability and strength, obviously that being well over a year ago, the player has become better over a period of time. Derby County manager Steve McClaren was happy with the players performances whilst at the club last season. Speaking to the Derby Telegraph back in January, McClaren said:
“We are disappointed to lose Michael but we couldn’t guarantee him games.
“We didn’t want to lose him, we wanted to keep him because he has been terrific, fantastic on and off the field.
“There is interest in him from other clubs. He wants to play and we understand that. We are disappointed because he was a real asset.
“We have said we will keep in touch and monitor his situation but in football two or three weeks is a long time and things happen.
“In a couple of weeks or a few weeks he may be available again and want to come back but I know he will be much sought after.”
Keane spent the remainder of the 2013/14 season playing for Blackburn Rovers, who were challenging for a play off place to earn back their position in the Barclays Premier League after being relegated at the end of the 2011/12 season. Rovers manager Gary Bowyer was also a fan of Keane after his loan spell during the second half of last season. Keane did well in a central defence role but also played in the right-back position I mentioned earlier. Bowyer seemed keen on bringing the player back to Ewood Park this season and on speaking to the Lancashire Telegraph last month he said:
“I’ve said all along that Mr Van Gaal will have a look at him.
“If Michael’s situation was to change then hopefully we’d be in a position to put ourselves forward.
“But we’re talking ifs, buts and maybes at the moment as he’s a Manchester United player.”
I think Keane will learn good things that will help with his development in the Sky Bet Championship. In fact it will be better for him and his England U21 career than playing in the Barclays U21 Premier League and a few appearances for the Manchester United first team in the Capital One Cup, or even the FA Cup, should United be drawn against opposition not already in the Barclays Premier League. Keane could join former United players Federico Macheda, who signed for the club on a free at the end of last season, and Fabio da Silva, who signed for the club in January along with Wilfried Zaha, who was on loan for the second half of last season. I am sure Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will want him to play a part in Cardiff’s promotion aims this season as they bid to return to the Barclays Premier League next season.