Burnley's Michael Keane
One of the most drawn-out, off again, on again, transfer sagas of the summer window appears to be edging closer to a merciful conclusion.
Burnley defender Michael Keane has been linked with Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, even a return to Manchester United, but throughout it all Everton have appeared determined to make the England international a pillar of their ambitious young side.
And, according to the Daily Mail, the feeling is entirely mutual. The report claims that Keane is hoping that a £25 million move to Goodison Park materialises next week – despite Tottenham Hotspur making their interest known.
Spurs is certainly an attractive destination for a young, up-and-coming player like Keane. After all, the 24-year-old teamed up with Dele Alli, Kyle Walker and Eric Dier when making his England debut against Germany in March – three players who have become national team regulars under the enigmatic guidance of Mauricio Pochettino.
Harry Kane and Danny Rose, ruled out of that friendly defeat with injury, have also progressed well beyond expectation at White Hart Lane.
However, the Daily Mail adds that Keane is eager to play regular first-team football next season after featuring in all but three of Burnley’s Premier League fixtures in 2016/17. And, despite his potential, he would face a major challenging ousting Jan Vertonghen or Toby Alderweireld from the starting XI.
And it’s fair to say first-team opportunities may be easier to come by at Everton. The Toffees conceded a respectable 44 goals in the top flight last season but Ashley Williams and Phil Jagielka have a combined age of 66.
Everton need to plan for life after Phil Jagielka
Keane, therefore, could be a long-term successor at the heart of the defence. And, following on from the combined £54 million spent on England’s future number one, Jordan Pickford, and Ajax captain Davy Klaassen, Everton fans have a right to be excited about the future.