Liverpool could yet prove best move for coveted Burnley man
Given the amount of speculation surrounding Burnley centre-back Michael Keane’s future, it’s inevitable that the Englishman winds up back at a top club in the not-too-distant future.
Sold by Manchester United last January, Keane has since thrived at Turf Moor having been granted regular first-team football where he was instrumental in landing the Championship title last season.
Now he is under the Premier League magnifying glass with the Clarets, the sharks are circling.
It’s come to light that champions Leicester City were prepared to pay Burnley £15m this summer despite the 23-year-old’s limited top-flight exposure.
Although the Foxes were denied, it’s Chelsea who’ve been widely touted as coveters of Keane’s signature since, possibly as soon as January given the increasing need to replace John Terry at Stamford Bridge.
However, both moves have associated flaws. Chelsea is a squad in need of refreshing without doubt, both in terms of attitude and sub-par performers that may have outstayed their welcome in west London.
Yet, if Keane has eyes on playing Champions League football for his next club (as the defender’s recent Guardian interview suggests) then swerving the Blues current tangle altogether seems sensible, with little guarantee of a top-four spot for Antonio Conte’s men this season.
Unless Leicester pull off an equally unthinkable feat on the continent as they managed in England’s highest tier last season, the Foxes’ maiden European Cup campaign is very likely to be their last for some time.
One club deemed far more likely to make a return to the Champions League by the next edition are 4/11 top-four shots Liverpool.
Although Jurgen Klopp’s men have a decent centre-half stable, there isn’t a rock-solid partnership to break up at Anfield to rival that of say Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld’s at Tottenham.
Mamadou Sakho looks destined for a Reds exit after his recent controversies, while Dejan Lovren cannot seem to stay fit for lengthy periods and Ragnar Klavan, although useful enough, is an obvious squad player.
In contrast, Joel Matip looks set to be a fixture for some time having impressed since his Schalke switch, though no natural heir to Jamie Carragher’s throne has turned up since the JT of Liverpool quit back in 2013.
One potential candidate was Joe Gomez, but how he will come back from such a long injury is unclear, while the former Charlton teenager may even be viewed as a left-back after playing there predominantly under Brendan Rodgers.
If Klopp wishes to bump up his British quota then he could do far worse than the Burnley star.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing