By George Overhill

21st Jan, 2023 | 10:40pm

Michael Keane is a January target for Salernitana and there has already been strong contact with Everton, Tutto Salernitana reports.

The centre-back has fallen out of favour at Goodison Park since the arrival of James Tarkowski and Conor Coady in the summer, with both Yerry Mina and Ben Godfrey also ahead of him.

The Toffees have already knocked back a loan approach for the 30-year-old from Southampton [Sky Sports, 9 January], as they prefer to sell and not to a relegation rival.

Italian side Salernitana therefore look to be a viable alternative and the latest report states that the club’s sporting director Morgan de Sanctis has already had “more than concrete contact with Everton” for Keane.

The Serie A outfit are planning to add four players before the end of the January window and have reportedly cooled their interest in Sampdoria’s Omar Colley, making the Toffees defender a likely alternative target.

Logical move

As long as Keane is on board with a move to Italy this deal surely makes sense for all parties and work should be done to complete it before the end of the month.

The club’s need to shed some high-earning senior players is well-documented, and with the defensive department well stocked in central areas there is no benefit to anyone if Keane sits on the bench when he needs to play.

Even a modest fee would make sense to clear space on the wage bill and if the contact with De Sanctis as extensive as reported then they appear to be keen on signing him.

Whether moves in the market are now going to be overshadowed by moves at the manager position is a valid concern however, after the 2-0 loss at West Ham on Saturday (21 January) left Frank Lampard hanging by a thread.

A similar mess occurred during last season’s winter window when Rafael Benitez was eventually replaced, so it will be a huge frustration if the end of Lampard’s reign comes about now and gets in the way of much-needed moves in and out.

In theory a Keane exit might free up some room for a late loan acquisition but until a decision is made on the manager’s future at board level all bets are off.