By Matt Farr
Everton are confident that they will win the race to land much-coveted Premier League ace Michael Keane in the summer, according to a report.
The Sun report that Everton currently consider themselves in pole position to sign the Burnley defender in a £28million deal.
Ronald Koeman has made the 24-year-old his No.1 transfer target, but is set to face competition for his signature from Premier League rivals Chelsea.
It had earlier been reported that Keane was set to fetch a transfer fee in the region of £20million this summer, but the Sun have now upped the figure by a further £8million.
Burnley boss Sean Dyche, meanwhile, remains reluctant to part ways with one of his star performers.
Everton made several key additions to their squad last month, but they failed to add a new defender to their ranks.
However, with three of Koeman’s current defensive options over the age of 30 – Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka and Ashley Williams – the Everton chief wants to add a more long-term asset.
Jagielka in particular, has fallen out-of-favour at Goodison Park this season, and Koeman has identified Keane as his long-term replacement.
Southampton rock Virgil van Dijk was also believed to be on Everton’s radar, but Koeman appears to have stepped away from a potential deal.
Football Insider verdict
Keane would be a fantastic addition to Everton’s ranks, and although £28million may seem a little extortionate, they’d more than get their money’s worth. He has proven time and time again for Burnley this season that he has the quality to be a Premier League defender for years to come, and his consistency could be of great aid to an Everton side that are short of reliable options at the heart of the defence. Everton will need to stump up the cash to fend off the likes of Chelsea, but Keane would become a more regular first-team figure with the Toffees than at Stamford Bridge, and should see Everton as the better fit. Dyche won’t be able to keep hold of Keane forever, and Everton must land their man this summer.
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