Clarets defender Keane set for record move
Michael Keane is not expected to return to pre-season training with Burnley on Wednesday, with Everton looking to push through a record deal before the weekend.
Keane, 22, has long been on Everton’s radar, and after a protracted chase for the England international, look to have won the race, with a fee to be determined, expected to be around Â£25m, well in excess of Burnley's outgoing record, which stands at the Â£7m received for Jay Rodriguez in 2011.
Former club Manchester United will receive 25% of the fee due to the sell on clause inserted after his move to Turf Moor.
The way was made clear for the Toffees just over a fortnight ago, when Keane’s hopes of a return to United were scuppered by the signing of Sweden international centre back Victor Lindelöf for a deal in excess of Â£30m.
The arrival of the 22-year-old from Benfica saw Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho cool his interest in Keane, who was also concerned that his first team chances would be limited if he moved to United in any case, with stiff competition from the likes of Eric Bailly, who is expected to be first choice, while Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Daley Blind are also options at centre back for Mourinho, as he bolsters his squad ahead of their return to Champions League football, on the back of winning the Europa League.
Liverpool are still eyeing Southampton’s Dutch centre back Virgil van Dijk, despite having to recently make an apology to the Saints on their own website, following allegations of tapping up the player.
And that left Everton essentially in a one-horse race for Keane, although Burnley were always prepared to hold onto the player for another season, even with him able to leave on a free transfer in the summer of 2018.
So it appears Ronald Koeman, who has never hid his admiration of Keane, has got his man, and Keane will fancy himself to be a regular starter at Goodison Park, alongside Ashley Williams, with Phil Jagielka at the veteran stage of his career.
It leaves Burnley with a gaping hole at centre back, with Keane very difficult to replace.
Sean Dyche is left with Ben Mee, James Tarkowski and newly-capped Republic of Ireland international Kevin Long in that position.
He has already been linked with Barnsley’s Marc Roberts, the subject of speculation in January as well.
And Craig Dawson of West Brom - a target back in the summer of 2014 - could also be on his wish list.