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It’s easier said than done, but Burnley will need to move quickly to replace England defender Michael Keane after the 24-year-old joined Everton in a £30million deal.
Burnley’s relative success last season was built on their admirable defending and Keane was instrumental in that. A like-for-like replacement in terms of overall quality is unlikely, but one slightly surprising name being linked with the Lancastrians who could get the job done is Sheffield Wednesday’s Tom Lees.
The Owls’ centre-back could be available for around £5million and it seems Sean Dyche is keen to rekindle the interest he had in the player last summer. Burnley will have competition for him too, as fellow Premier League outfit Huddersfield are as interested as Championship sides Derby, Hull, Middlesbrough and Sunderland, not to mention Sheffield Wednesday being reluctant to let him leave.
The defender playing 37 times in the Championship and scoring once. By quite some distance, nobody makes more clearances per game than Lees either and it’s that last line of defence that Burnley will be in need of replacing with the excellent Keane off the books.
Blocked shots per game are another stat Lees is on top at the club and so it’s clearly not just the impressive visual effect he creates. His stats all back it up and just how good he is. Take into account that Sheffield Wednesday were in the top six teams of what was a stronger than usual Championship last season and that he’s 26 years of age and only just about to reach his peak as a centre-half.
I’m not saying that he’s as good as Keane right now, but who saw Keane coming either? Lees deserves, at the very least, to be called a Premier League player, and we’ll never know if he too could get into the England squad until he’s given the chance to play against the best strikers in the land.
Frankly, as horrible as it sounds, the top clubs are not going to sign someone like Lees and so if he is to get that chance, then a Burnley or a Watford, for example, is the way it’s going to happen. So this move could be great for both parties.
I’d like to see Lees in the Premier League as I think he straight up deserves it and Burnley are the type of club who will not look down on whoever Keane’s replacement is.