LONDON (REUTERS) – Everton have signed highly-rated England defender Michael Keane from Burnley in a deal that could rise to a club record-equalling 30 million pounds (S$50 million), the Premier League club announced on Monday (July 3).
The 24-year-old, who has penned a five-year contract, is Everton’s fifth signing of a close season which has seen the club’s Dutch manager Ronald Koeman invest heavily in improving the side.
The fee represents a record sale for Burnley, who signed the central defender from Manchester United in January 2015 for an undisclosed fee put at two million pounds by British media.
In March, Keane made his full England debut in a friendly against Germany before playing in a World Cup qualifier versus Lithuania.
Koeman told the club website (www.evertonfc.com): “I believe there is much more to come from Michael and that’s what makes his signing really exciting for me – we will see his development as a player along with the progression overall within the club.
“It’s another really positive sign of the direction the club is moving in. He’s 24 years old, his best years are to come, he’s an England international, too, and I couldn’t be more pleased that he’s now a Blue,” he added.
Keane said playing for former Netherlands and Barcelona defender Koeman was part of the reason he chose to move to Everton, who finished seventh in the top flight last term.
“First and foremost, the manager was a big factor in me coming to the club. He played in my position when he was a world-class player for a great Barcelona side and a great Dutch side and the style of football he likes to play will suit me, I believe,” he said.
“I watched a lot of Everton last season and I believe I really suit how the team likes to play. I feel like this is a great place to come and continue my development as a player,” added the centre-half.
The signing of Keane follows the arrival of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford from Sunderland for 25 million pounds, potentially rising by a further five million.
Dutch international midfield player Davy Klaassen has arrived from Ajax Amsterdam for 27 million euros (S$42 million) and Spain Under-21 international striker Sandro Ramirez from Malaga.
Nigeria forward Henry Onyekuru, the Belgian league’s joint-top scorer last season, has also signed for Everton but will spend next season back in Belgium on loan at Anderlecht.