Everton star Michael Keane has reportedly come on Arsenal’s radar for a summer move as Unai Emery eyes significant defensive reinforcements.
Arsenal’s defensive problems have been laid bare in their last few games, so naturally, there are plenty of players linked with a summer move. Daily Mail are reporting that the Gunners might try to make a move for Everton’s Michael Keane to solve their defensive issues for next season, although the former Manchester United player might not come cheap.
There have been loud calls for Arsenal to replace some of their squad players in the coming window, most notably Shkodran Mustafi, whose errors led to the team’s loss against Crystal Palace. The German is widely tipped to leave the North London club in the summer, alongside other stars as Unai Emery eyes a significant overhaul to his team.
Mustafi is widely tipped to leave for Italy, with Inter Milan the prime candidates to land his signature. Consequently, the Gunners will re-invest some of the funds generated from the sale into other reinforcements. Arsenal are seemingly interested in a few defenders for a summer move with the likes of Everton’s Michael Keane and Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti reportedly high on the list.
The Barcelona defender might be a viable target, but the fee that Barcelona might demand is likely to price Arsenal out of the equation for a transfer. Keane, on the other hand, might just come into Arsenal’s range for a central defender. There have been reports that Arsenal had sent scouts to watch Keane on several occasions, most recently during Everton’s 2-0 win over West Ham United.
Keane, who graduated from the Manchester United academy, was snapped up by Burnley, who later sold him to Everton for close to £25 million in the summer of 2017. After initially struggling for form at Goodison Park, the defender has become a crucial member of Marco Silva’s setup at Everton, and the Toffees are unlikely to let go of him cheaply.
Everton are indeed preparing themselves should Keane leave in the summer, as they line up several candidates to replace him. Chelsea’s Kurt Zouma, who currently is on loan at the club is the most likely candidate to replace Keane permanently.
Links with Arsenal are understood and could possibly appeal to Keane. Arsenal have a real challenge to make changes to the ageing backline which consists of Nacho Monreal, Sokratis and Laurent Koscielny. It is Monreal and Koscielny’s long-term future that is in question, although Arsenal’s biggest worry right now is to offload Mustafi.
The German might attract interest, as he still has age by his side, but his erratic displays would undoubtedly have lowered his market value when the window opens. Arsenal are hoping to offload the German and add to their £45 million transfer budget for the summer, although this sum could increase with Champions League qualification.
A union with Keane would be beneficial for Arsenal, as the defender has age by his side in addition to being reliable at the back, unlike Mustafi. However, even if the former Manchester United defender decides to join Arsenal, there is the big issue of the transfer fee, as Everton will not want to let go of him cheaply, although a £40 million bid might convince the club to let go of their star defender.