Burnley manager Sean Dyche has confirmed that he is interested in completing a permanent deal for Manchester United defender Michael Keane and that the club have been in regular contact with the Premier League giants about a prospective transfer.
The Clarets boss revealed in last night's post-match press conference after watching his side draw 1-1 with Tottenham Hotspur in their FA Cup third round clash at Turf Moor that it was his intention to keep the England U21 international until the end of the season.
Ideally, the 21-year-old will join Burnley permanently in the January transfer window, but Dyche will be equally happy to secure his services for the remainder of 2014/15 on a another short-term agreement after impressing during 12 senior appearances this term.
"We are just looking at that situation," the Burnley boss was quoted saying by ESPN. "That has been ongoing ever since he has been here. We will wait and see."
Asked specifically about the chances of signing Keane permanently, Dyche added: "That is a discussion we will have with him and Manchester United. That has been going on for a while."
Keane has made just one senior appearance for the Red Devils so far, which is somewhat surprising given Louis van Gaal's philosophy of promoting young talent from within. The Dutchman's conscious decision to call-up promising starlets from the Old Trafford club's academy has seen the likes of Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett profit from first-team opportunities.
However, the same can't be said for Keane after he left the Theatre of Dreams at the start of September, and now his long-term prospects look like being better served in Lancashire.
The talented centre-back might want to wait and see if Burnley manage to retain their Premier League status before committing his long-term future to Dyche's side, who have some defensive injury problems of their own with Michael Duff still sidelined and Kevin Long suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the 3-3 draw with Newcastle United on New Year's Day.
Injury problems easing up
Manchester United are starting to welcome back many of the players that spent a large portion of the season so far unavailable through injury, so that could sway Van Gaal's decision to sanction Keane's surprise departure in early 2015.
But, one thing is for certain is the fact that Dyche won't be held to ransom over a fee, and will only negotiate deals at the right price that fall in line with Burnley's relatively modest budget.
"There are a couple of situations we have been working on [in addition to Michael Keane]. It depends on if they become available at the right cost base."