With injuries crippling Manchester United’s defence in recent months, fans could be forgiven for wondering why the club have made the decision to sell the promising Michael Keane to Burnley for an undisclosed fee.
A well-regarded prospect when coming up through the ranks at Old Trafford, the England Under-21 captain was part of United’s FA Youth Cup-winning side in 2011 as a right-back, but made just five total appearances for the firs-team from October 2011.
Nevertheless, there were high expectations for his future in Louis van Gaal’s side and, after the club’s recent injury crisis saw fellow academy graduates Tyler Blackett and Paddy McNair make their mark, the defender himself admitted to being frustrated at missing out on his chance while at Turf Moor.
“To see those young players playing there, while I’m happy for them, I’m also obviously gutted that it wasn’t me,” he told Sky Sports News HQ last month.
“But it’s just one of those things. There’s nothing I can do about it. There’s nothing I can do to get back there so I just have to be patience, keep working hard here and wait for my chance.”
While Keane at least has the chance to start afresh now he has moved on, a sizeable number of United fans appear to think that offloading him now is premature, with the general sentiment being that he could offer more than both McNair and Blackett in the long-term.
Such a shame we let keane go . Never got a chance. Best wishes for him #mufc— d3vil heart (@kb7_mufc) January 8, 2015
Didn't realise #MUFC were in a position to sell defenders. Keane is defo better than McNair but oh well— Paul (@PaulBurton_15) January 8, 2015
Ryan Shawcross, Gerard Pique and now Michael Keane. Two of them have proved us wrong and I'm sure Keane will follow suit. #MUFC— Rakesh (@hjrakesh) January 8, 2015
I think its a joke that we let Michael Keane leave for Burnley. #mufc— luongforman (@_iAmJam_) January 8, 2015
Michael Keane permanently joins Burnley. another mistake to let the promising lad go while we hold on to flop like Evans.#mufc— yanky (@kiiryanky) January 8, 2015
Gutted to see Michael Keane go permanently. Looks a real talent. All the best to him at Burnley. #mufc— Joe Bamford (@joeybamford) January 8, 2015
Michael Keane will moved to Burnley at permanent deal ? Oh God, he's the best one from the academy #MUFC— Dodo (@adriantopriyo) January 8, 2015
Good luck to Michael Keane, I thought he was going to make it at Utd. Good luck at Burnley. #mufc— Squadnumber17 (@Squadnumber17) January 8, 2015
#MUFC always sad to see young talent go such as Keane LVG could have moulded him into a future star SAD !— cooksno7 (@cooksno7) January 8, 2015
Shame M.Keane never got a proper chance at #mufc impressed on every loan and captain of England U21s! good luck to him at Burnley— MUFC (@1MUFC_chat) January 8, 2015
Kind of regret united selling Micheal Keane in a way, thought he was a promising CB #MUFC— LewyElShaarawy (@LewisBall8) January 8, 2015
We should have kept Keane for some time cuz he's a young prospect hope he doesn't come back to hunt us... #mufc— iamkras (@KofiKras) January 8, 2015
Michael Keane has signed permanently for Burnley. Disappointing. I thought he could have broken into the first team. #MUFC— Alex Wylie (@AlexWylie) January 8, 2015
Gutted to see Keane go though, if I'm honest, I rated him higher than Paddy. But I am sure LvG knows what he is doing. #MUFC— Hardeep Singh (@TheRealistSingh) January 8, 2015
As a United fan some of you guys are so unrealistic about your talent, Michael Keane, good lad, not great...sad to see him leave??? #mufc— Jordan Commissiong (@JCommiss) January 8, 2015
Strange decision to sell M.Keane. He's better than McNair and Blackett for a start and has more potential #mufc— Joe Rawlings (@joerawlings7) January 8, 2015
I think selling Michael Keane is a mistake! Could see him doing well in the future, unless it means we're going to sign a Defender? #MUFC— David Carrick (@Dave_Carrick) January 8, 2015
Good luck to Michael Keane.. Best move for everyone now Blackett and McNair are ahead of him (arguably by pure circumstance) #MUFC— finjamin (@FinUren) January 8, 2015
Unless we have a few defenders lined up to arrive I think it's silly to flog Michael Keane permanently. But hey, what do I know? #MUFC— Matthew Kitchin (@HelloKitch) January 8, 2015
Gutted Michael Keane's gone. Hope Pearson does well on loan though, needs some first team time #MUFC— Dominic Colgan (@D_Colgan) January 8, 2015