Everton continued their summer spending spree yesterday by signing Michael Keane for a reported £25 million. The 24-year old centre back joined the Toffees from Burnley F.C. on a 5 year deal that could rise to a joint club record of £30m.
Keane joins his fellow England international Jordan Pickford, Sandro Ramirez, Davy Klaassen and Henry Onyekuru at Goodison Park, bringing their total spend this summer to £90m.
Whatever the final fee Manchester United will receive a quarter of the price, having inserted a sell-on clause when they sold the defender to Burnley in 2015.
Keane had been linked to a return to Old Trafford but was reportedly worried he would not be an automatic starter for Mourinho’s team.
Beginnings and rise with Burnley
Keane joined the Red Devils aged 16, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2011 alongside his brother Will, Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Ravel Morrison.
He impressed on loan at Leicester City, Derby County and Blackburn Rovers, before going to Turf Moor, joining permanently in January 2015 after an initial loan spell.
Unable to keep the Lancashire side in the top flight, he played a vital role in returning them to the Premier League at first ask, forming a partnership first with Michael Duff and then Ben Mee.
Last season Keane made 35 starts for the Clarets, earning a senior England call-up and a debut in the friendly against Germany.
The defender was nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year, impressing pundits and fans alike. He made the second most headed clearances in the Premier League (176) and blocked 43 opposition shots, behind only his partner Mee with 44.
The inevitable comparisons with John Stones are not without merit, although Keane’s ball playing abilities are not in the City man’s class.
That will improve in time however, particularly under the tutelage of new boss Ronald Koeman, apparently the main reason the Englishman turned down a return to Old Trafford.
Keane told the Everton website: “He (Koeman) played in my position when he was a world-class player for a great Barcelona side and a great Dutch side and the style of football he likes to play will suit me, I believe. “
“I watched a lot of Everton last season and I believe I really suit how the team likes to play. I feel like this is a great place to come and continue my development as a player.”
Battle for a World Cup place
With the World Cup in 2018 fast approaching the defender will want to stake his claim for a place in Gareth Southgate’s squad, if not his starting eleven.
Clearly, he believes Everton is the best side with which to accomplish this.
Written by Matthew Robson
Follow Matthew on Twitter @TheRobsonator93
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