Manchester United have a long history of nurturing young talent from their academy through to the first team. From the famous 'Class of '92' all the way through to Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard, plenty of young British talent have benefitted from he Old Trafford club's youth policy.
Not every talented youngster can be handed a long-term future with the Red Devils, however, as Michael Keane found out when he was sold to Burnley back in January 2015 after four years as a pro with the club.
Keane, of course, is now thriving in the Premier League with his new club and is in Gareth Southgate's first England squad. With his career trajectory on the up and up, officials back in Manchester are apparently "kicking themselves" over what they see as a big mistake they made when selling the now 23-year-old last year.
According to The Mirror, the United hierarchy are ruing the fact that they didn't insist on a sell-on clause when sending Keane to Turf Moor in January 2015 for £2.5 million.
Although they made a quick profit on a youth product at the time, with Keane now the subject of serious interest from the likes of Chelsea, Ed Woodward and co. could have been set for a significant windfall when/if Burnley decides to sell in the near future.
"The club is kicking themselves over it and some people are now keeping their heads down," an anonymous source told The Mirror's Daniel Cutts.
“There is a fear they could be hearing ‘we told you so’ in the near future. He has always been highly-rated by United’s reserve coaches.”
Before the transfer window closed, there was talk of Chelsea considering a £25 million bid for the Stockport-born defender. And with a potential first cap for England in the offing over the next few days, Keane's value could increase even further.
And with a potential first cap for England in the offing over the next few days, Keane's value could increase even further.
It might not all be doom and gloom for United, however. The Mirror's report notes that it is unclear at this stage whether the Old Trafford club were able to insert a first refusal clause in their deal with Burnley.
If this were the case, then they would have the option to re-sign Keane before the likes of Chelsea could swoop.
Obviously, after enjoying something of a breakout campaign so far in the Premier League, that would likely be a costly venture, but Keane is said to be open to the idea of a return at some point down the line.
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