By support

30th Jan, 2017 | 3:00pm

Everton boss confirms interest in reported £20m-rated PL star

By Matt Farr

Everton manager Ronald Koeman has confirmed that he is interested in signing Burnley defender Michael Keane.

The 24-year-old has established himself as a vital cog in Sean Dyche’s Burnley machine, and has made 25 appearances for the club in all competitions this season.

His performances have caught the eye of several of their Premier League rivals, with reports last month linking Keane with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Leicester.

Everton have also been rumoured to be interested in the £20million-rated defender’s services, having been priced-out of a move for £50million-rated Virgil van Dijk.

Speaking to the media ahead of their clash with Stoke on Wednesday, Koeman confirmed his interest, but admitted that he would have to fight off stern competition from a host of other sides.

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As quoted by Liverpool Echo journalist Phil Kirkbride on Twitter, Koeman said: “If we don’t get the players we want we don’t sign players for numbers.

“If we get a problem in that position [defence] we have some good young ones.

“He [Keane] is one of that list. Defenders in that position. But I heard he’s on more lists of different teams.”

Koeman is looking to inject more youth into his ageing defence, with Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines and Ashley Williams all over the age of 30.

Keane’s versatility would make him one of the most viable defensive options currently in the market, as he could provide cover at right-back as well as in his traditional central-role, and could be adept to playing in a back-three.

He has a big future in the Premier League and with England, having been called-up to the senior squad for the first time in October, although he has yet to make his debut.

Ronald Koeman also denied reports that he was interested in signing Manchester United outcast Ashley Young.

Football Insider verdict

In a month where Everton have done some fantastic business in the transfer market – both with incomings and outgoings – bringing Michael Keane to the club would be the perfect way to top it all off. They would have to do very well to fight off the competition first of all, while they would also need to do very well to convince Burnley to part with him at this point in the season. They would likely have better luck in the summer, but so would everyone else. By publicly admitting he is interest in Keane suggests that Koeman may have a plan up his sleeve before tomorrow’s transfer deadline, and Everton fans will be waiting keenly in anticipation for any formal approach.

In other Everton transfer news, the Toffees are on the verge of completing the sale of these two first-team outcasts.

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