One is set to move: Everton close in on stunning £40m double signing - report
By Alex Stevens
Everton are closing in on sensational £40million double swoop for emerging English stars Michael Keane and Jordan Pickford, according to a report.
The Sun claim the Merseysiders are leading “a pack of big hitters” in the races to prise centre-back Keane from Burnley and goalkeeper Pickford from Sunderland.
It is said that Keane, 24, is aware of Everton’s interest and favours a move to the club ahead of Liverpool as he is keen to be a first-term regular.
The Sun report that Keane, who has been named in the England starting XI against Lithuania on Sunday as he wins his second cap, is set to leave Burnley in a £25million summer move.
Everton have also made the “first serious move” in the chase for keeper Pickford, 23, who has also interest from Premier League heavyweights Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal.
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Sunderland are currently seven points adrift of safety at the bottom of the Premier League and are expected to sell academy product Pickford if they are relegated.
Keane, who moved to Burnley from United in January 2015, has caught the eye of Frank Lampard for his performances in a team that have developed at a similar rate.
“We have to give credit firstly to Burnley as a team,” Lampard told Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football programme. “I’ve been really impressed with their play and I think when you’re a player who’s been let go by a top team and you have to go back down the ladder and now you’re looking at him… I’ve seen some games where he’s been fantastic.
“He might not be in everyone’s team of the year but I think you have to give respect to young English players who have made a mark and in a team who are defending a lot.”
Keane has started all 29 of Burnley’s Premier League matches this season and forged an impressive centre-back partnership with Ben Mee.
The former United player has made 102 appearances for the club and is contracted to Sean Dyche’s side until the summer of 2018.
In other Everton transfer news, the club are clear favourites to sign a 27-goal striker topping the scoring charts.