The Burnley center-back has emerged as one of the best defenders in the Premier League this season, regularly earning plaudits from fans and pundits alike for his performances. His impressively consistent displays for The Clarets have attracted the attention of several top English clubs – including the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Everton, and Tottenham.
Keane is well known at Old Trafford, having graduated from the club’s academy alongside current United first-team regulars Jesse Lingard and Paul Pogba. The defender made his first-team debut for the club in 2011 against Aldershot Town, and was tipped for a bright future at the club.
He won the Reserve Player of the Year award at United 2012 before spending the next four years out on loan at clubs such as Leicester City, Derby County, Blackburn Rovers, and Burnley, who acted swiftly to make the deal permanent and signed him for a reported fee of just £2.5 million.
The 24-year-old has rapidly progressed over the last two seasons, and has seen his stock rise dramatically. Premier League champions Leicester City, who Keane played for on loan in 2012, made an attempt to sign the defender in the previous summer transfer window, only to see their bid – reportedly in the region of £20 million – turned down by Burnley.
Keane’s consistency for his club prompted England manager Gareth Southgate to award the youngster his first international cap, and the center-back impressed with a solid, assured performance in a 1-0 friendly defeat to Germany on his debut.
Should the youngster make the switch back to the Theatre of Dreams, he would cost the club around 12 times more than what he left them for, as Burnley are said to have slapped a £30 million price tag on him. Money is hardly an issue for United though, as displayed in the last summer transfer window, when they paid Juventus £89 million to bring Paul Pogba back to the club.
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While it might be slightly embarrassing that should the deal go through, the Red Devils will have spent £119 million on two players who were allowed to leave for next to nothing, it is unlikely to be a source of bother for Jose Mourinho, who is determined to do whatever it takes to turn the club into title contenders once more.
With the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling regularly spending time in the treatment room, Mourinho will be on the lookout for a suitable long-term partner for Eric Bailly, and Keane could now be seen as an ideal choice.