THE lure of Premier League football and the price tag put on his head by Manchester United are the reasons why Michael Keane ended up at Blackburn Rovers’ rivals Burnley.
That was the verdict of Rovers boss Gary Bowyer yesterday after being asked for his thoughts on Keane’s 11th-hour deadline-day loan switch to top-flight new boys Burnley.
Bowyer wanted to re-sign the England U21s international defender after a highly successful loan spell at Ewood Park last season in which he scored three goals in 13 Championship appearances.
But United made it clear they would prefer to send Keane back out on loan to one of their Premier League rivals – providing none of his suitors were willing to pay a fee, believed to be in the region of £2m-£3m, for the 21-year-old.
Bowyer said: “I’m delighted Michael is playing in the Premier League because in my opinion that’s where he belongs – he’s a Premier League player.
“We were interested in the summer but we fully understood the situation with Manchester United and they see it that the next part of his development is to go out to a Premier League club.
“And I’m fully aware for his development that the next stage has to be for him to play in it – and play in it regularly.
“The transfer fee that was mentioned to us, we couldn’t even begin to think about that.”
Asked whether there was a loan option available to Rovers Bowyer said: “He’s gone on loan to the Premier League so obviously that’s something that he and Manchester United have chosen for his development and the next stage of it.”