Why Michael Keane would be a good signing for Chelsea
Chelsea are continuing to search for defensive reinforcements after failing to land their priority targets during the summer. During John Terry’s absence from the team, the Blues have struggled defensively and that will be a concern for Antonio Conte. The other centre-back options at the club aren’t great, with neither Gary Cahill nor David Luiz covering themselves in glory during recent matches.
Although Terry is still one of the best defenders in the Premier League, he is approaching the end of his career and Chelsea need to find alternatives in his position. They have been looking for a British replacement and Michael Keane is quickly emerging as the main contender.
The Daily Mail report that the 23-year-old has been earmarked by Antonio Conte, but it won’t be an easy transfer to complete. Burnley rate Keane highly and could ask for as much as £25 million for his signature. Chelsea have the finances to match the valuation and could be prepared to do so in January, but they will need to be convinced that Keane will develop into a Champions League calibre player.
Many predict Michael Keane to be a future England international and it is easy to see why. He has had talent from a young age at Manchester United, but wasn’t given a chance at Old Trafford and was forced to leave the club. Last season, he was one of the best defenders in the Championship and finished the campaign in the division’s team-of-the-season. It was well deserved and he is now seen as one of the best defensive talents in the country. He was a target for Leicester City over the summer and now Chelsea have started to make their move.
Keane is dominant in the air, which allows him to be an asset in both penalty boxes. He chips in with a few goals, but it is his defensive qualities that are attracting interest from bigger sides. The 23-year-old rarely makes mistakes, while his positioning has improved a lot over the last 12 months. Burnley are very well organised defensively and the former Manchester United player has benefited from the coaching of Sean Dyche. Although the Clarets are an unfashionable team, they have provided an excellent footballing education for Keane and he is now set to move on to better things in the near future.
For Chelsea, it would be a move that raises eyebrows and carries a huge risk, but it could pay off. He is a player who is already performing at a good level in the Premier League and there is room for improvement. Antonio Conte is a great coach, especially in the defensive half and Keane would benefit from working with the Italian. Moreover, Keane is a homegrown player and Chelsea have a distinct lack of these on their books.
This is a major reason why they are sourcing English centre-back targets and Keane is one of the best options available. He may not be in the national team at present, but he has the potential to grow into a leading English centre-half and Stamford Bridge could be the perfect place for him to finish his development.
There is still some time before the January transfer window and stories need to be treated with caution as things could change before 2017. However, it is obvious that Chelsea need to strengthen their defence before they can be considered title challengers. Gary Cahill has been making too many errors, while David Luiz isn’t a reliable option in defence. It would be a good move for Chelsea to bring in Keane, as he has the attributes to be an excellent defender and as a bonus, he is English.
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