Burnley manager Sean Dyche has paid tribute to Everton defender Michael Keane after the one-time Manchester United starlet swapped Turf Moor for Goodison Park on Monday (3 July).
Ronald Koeman's side agreed a deal that could be worth up to £31m with the Clarets for Keane, who signed a five-year deal with the Toffees as he became the latest part of their recruitment drive.
Dyche's outfit paid £2m to sign Keane from Manchester United in January 2015 and resisted bids from clubs for the England international last summer. Their resilience paid off as Keane performed admirably at the heart of Burnley defence, helping them retain their Premier League status, and Dyche thinks the centre-back's move to Everton is all part of his natural progression.
"The reality was that Michael was probably going to move," Dyche told Burnley's official website. "It's not about him wanting to leave; it's just a natural progression. It's fair to say that Everton have been in the Premier League for a very long time and they're looking to get even stronger.
"They're making a big investment there now and it's a right move at the right time for him. I think Michael spoke very well about our club and about what he's done here and rightly so, as he's had a fantastic journey.
"If there's ever been a time in my management career when there's something that you tell the story, or the projected future of, it was probably his story. When I first met Michael with his agent and his parents, I kind of guided him as to how I saw his future and he's obviously played a massive part of gripping that himself and we've guided him towards that.
Keane admitted he was tempted to join Manchester United this summer, but the Red Devils' £30.6m acquisition of Swedish defender Victor Lindelof put paid to his chances of a return to Old Trafford.
Despite a mooted move to his boyhood club not coming to pass – Manchester United wanted both Keane and Lindelof but the former had reservations over game-time – Dyche thinks Everton is 'a really good place' for the former Leicester City loanee to develop and was keen to stress his appreciation regarding Keane's service to Burnley.
"There comes a time for some of these players when it's probably appropriate they move on and I think on this occasion it is," Dyche added. "I mentioned last year to him and to the world, when people were chasing after him, that I thought he had more to do at Burnley, before he moves on.
"Now I think now he's in a really good place to go on and take his career on again – and we can only thank him for what he's done. He's been a fantastic servant to us, both on and off the pitch."