Burnley have rejected what would be a club record offer for centre back Michael Keane from Premier League champions Leicester City.
The Foxes have made a move for the 23-year-old former Manchester United youngster, believed to be in excess of £10m, which would have smashed the £7m figure received from Southampton for Jay Rodriguez in 2012.
However, I understand the bid – which could be as much as £15m including incentives – has been turned down, with the club not wishing to sell one of their crown jewels after a hugely impressive season, helping the Clarets win promotion back to the Premier League.
Leicester are one of a number of clubs eyeing Keane, who has attracted previous interest from Everton, who earmarked him as a replacement for John Stones, should he leave Goodison Park.
Keane was a virtual ever-present last season as the Clarets won promotion back to the top flight at the first attempt, starting all bar two league games, scoring five goals – including critical efforts against Brighton and Middlesbrough.
Stoke City were linked with a £7m switch in the January transfer window, with a reported offer failing to materialise, and Keane has also attracted attention from the likes of Bournemouth and Swansea City, as well as Norwich City and Aston Villa before their relegation to the Championship.
Before the start of the season, Keane was rated by former United colleague Rio Ferdinand as one of “the best 3 young 21s CB’s in England right now” with John Stones and Eric Dier, adding “all future full England internationals 100%”.
And he very much hopes to fulfil that potential to make the step up from the Under 21s, for who he made 16 appearances between 2013-15, as he said after clinching the Championship title with Burnley: “For me, at the moment, it is about trying to do well for Burnley in the Premier League.
“I think once you are there, then you can start trying to earn a call into the England squad.”
Leicester are thought to want Keane – who played 22 games on loan with the Foxes in 2012-13 – as cover for Wes Morgan and Robert Huth, but the title-winning partnership would be difficult to break up, with the player joining Burnley from United two years ago for first team football.
He has often spoken about being happy at Turf Moor, saying about speculation about his future in January: “It’s not distracting.
“Obviously I see it but I don’t know whether to believe it or not. It’s just one of those things.
“If it’s true then it can be very flattering, but I’m really happy here at Burnley.
“Everyone in the team, the manager and the fans have been great with me, so there’s no reason for me to leave.
“You just take it as a compliment.
“It just proves that you’re playing well if there’s teams coming after you.
“I think I’m defending well consistently now.
“I think I’ve been doing well on a personal level for a while now, so I’m just hoping to keep it up. It’s just speculation – you don’t know whether to believe it or not – but it is nice to see.
“I think I’ve developed a lot here under the gaffer.
“I’ve had all the experienced players helping me as well.
“I’m hoping to keep that up and get back in to the Premier League and do it there as well.”