Everton are reportedly set to discuss a new contract with Michael Keane after Barcelona were surprisingly linked with the central defender this week.
According to The Times’ northern football correspondent, Paul Joyce, the club will soon open talks with Keane, 27, after reports linked him with a move to the Nou Camp and a reunion with the man who brought him to Goodison Park, Ronald Koeman.
Koeman signed Keane from Burnley in July 2017 for an initial £25 million on a five-year contract. The Dutchman was sacked as Everton manager nine games into the 2017-18 Premier League season and, after two-and-a-half years in charge of the Netherlands national team, was appointed Barcelona boss this week.
Keane, who has two years remaining on that deal, has made 107 appearances for Everton in what has been a fluctuating Goodison career so far.
A difficult start in Koeman’s struggling side included Keane sustaining a serious foot infection that inflamed further after taking painkillers, and in May he admitted to hitting ‘rock bottom’ and breaking down in tears in front of his family during a tough first campaign on Merseyside.
He improved immeasurably in his second year, this time under Marco Silva, and formed an imperious partnership with Kurt Zouma at the heart of an Everton defence which kept eight clean sheets in their final 11 games of 2018-19 (seven of which Keane featured in).
Last season was more arduous for Keane following loanee Zouma’s return to Chelsea, but he raised his game as the campaign drew on and did not a miss a minute of Everton’s final 11 games.
He currently faces competition in central defence from Yerry Mina and Mason Holgate, as well as youngsters Jarrad Branthwaite and Lewis Gibson.