Despite the claims, the dubious reports saying a deal to take Michael Keane from Burnley to Liverpool was all but done, Liverpool’s top defensive priority remains Virgil van Dijk. And if they cannot land the Southampton man, a more likely Plan B would be Napoli centre half Kalidou Koulibaly.
So say The Liverpool Echo, who today used their sources within the club to shoot down the Keane rumours started yesterday by The Mirror. The local paper of record do concede that the club has tracked Kenae and would consider him a solid defensive option, but say he isn’t a priority.
Instead, as many have suspected for quite some time now, Southampton’s van Dijk remains the club and Jürgen Klopp’s number one choice—with the single largest influencing factor on their chances to land him being whether they can now secure a top four finish and Champions League football.
The moment they do, if they can, the hope is for a deal to secure van Dijk to soon follow. If it somehow falls through, though, they will need options. And to help combat the Keane rumours, The Echo suggest a more likely option should van Dijk not arrive would be Napoli’s Koulibaly.
The 25-year-old Senegal international has had an impressive season at Napoli and is reportedly seen as being in the same class as van Dijk. Keane, though a solid option, isn’t seen as being in the class, and Liverpool would have to miss on a few other targets to get to him.
All of which means talk of Keane to Liverpool can be safely written off as rumours being fed to the press by his agent—or by Burnley if the club are trying to spark a bidding war. At least for now. If it gets to June without a van Dijk or Koulibaly arriving, then the Keane rumours might carry more weight.