Chelsea are reportedly eyeing a January move for the Burnley centre-back as Antonio Conte looks to bolster his defensive options.

 

The Daily Mirror have claimed that Chelsea are interested in Burnley centre-back Michael Keane and are planning to add the English defender to their squad come January. The player is reportedly being eyed by Antonio Conte and technical director Michael Emenalo as a long-term replacement for Blues veteran John Terry.

Michael Keane is a Manchester United academy graduate who made the permanent move to Burnley in January 2015 for just £2m. However, he has developed into a strong centre-back and has some impressive performances under his belt at the highest level of English football. The 23-year-old, who has shown his defensive solidity as a crucial member of Burnley’s back line this season, is thought to be close to a call-up to the senior England national squad.

Keane was the subject of multiple bids in the summer transfer window, but Burnley turned down all approaches for the defender. Leicester City were the most prominent of the interested parties, with Claudio Ranieri making several unsuccessful offers of up to £15m for the young defender throughout the summer.

The player scored his first goal of the season on Monday night in a 2-0 win over Watford and was part of the only defence to have successfully kept Liverpool at bay this season, which only adds to the rising stock of the former United academy ace.

Michael Keane was an integral part of Burnley's promotion campaign and has impressed in the Premier League thus far this season with Chelsea planning a swoop for the U21 international in January. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Keane was an integral part of Burnley’s promotion campaign and has impressed in the Premier League thus far this season. Chelsea are now planning a swoop for the U21 international in January. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Burnley know they must brace themselves for another barrage of bids in January for the England U21 international. The Clarets are reportedly considering a new deal for the 23-year-old, who still has two years left on his current contract, in order to fend off interest from other clubs.

The player can play both as a central defender and as a right-back and could come in handy as a right-sided central defender if Conte does decide to use a three-defender formation at Chelsea in the near future. Chelsea are reportedly quietly confident of succeeding where the defending champions failed in securing a deal for the 23-year-old.

The Blues are rumoured to be lining up a £25m bid in January for Keane, which is sure to test the newly promoted side’s stance on the player’s transfer status. There is no indication as yet whether the defender, who is a boyhood United fan, is interested in a move to Stamford Bridge.

With Chelsea’s defence seemingly in a mess and in immediate need of an overhaul, it appears certain that Conte and Emenalo — backed by Roman Abramovich — will try to secure a transfer for Keane in the January transfer window.

READ MORE — CONTE’S CHELSEA FC: WHY ARE THINGS ALREADY GOING WRONG FOR HIM AT STAMFORD BRIDGE?

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