Michael Keane has agreed a deal moving from Manchester United to Burnley for a reported fee of £3million with the England U-21 defender signing a 3.5 year contract. Having joined the Clarets on loan at the beginning of this season, Keane has gone on to make 11 appearances for Burnley.
The move has surprised a number of followers of youth team football at Old Trafford with Keane deemed surplus to requirements. The rise of Paddy McNair and Tyler Blackett goes some way to show the faith that Louis van Gaal is willing to place in youngsters as well as the shortage of experienced cover for an area of the squad that has proven to be injury prone this season.
United pecking order
Many would have considered Keane to be ahead of both Blackett and McNair in the pecking order prior to the start of this season and would have expected the youngster to return following a short spell at Turf Moor.
The youngster was part of the acclaimed 2011 FA youth cup winning side alongside his twin Will Keane as well as the likes of Paul Pogba and Ravel Morisson.
A number of those players were tipped for stardom at Old Trafford, but it appears that only Blackett and Jesse Lingard retain any hope of achieving that goal now with the majority of the squad having moved on.
There is no doubt that the move is a good one for Michael Keane as he is playing regular football in the Premier League and is able to stay in the Northwest. However, it is a disappointment for some that the player never really got a chance in the first team at Old Trafford.
Out of luck?
It shows that breaking into a first team at any club, particularly a club like United, requires luck to gain an opportunity as McNair has had and then it becomes important to grasp that opportunity.
If Keane had remained at Old Trafford this season, things could have been very different. As it is, Burnley have acquired a talented young, English defender and Keane has a platform to prove that he belongs at the highest level of English football.