Burnley prepared to risk losing Michael Keane for nothing at end of next season
Burnley are prepared to risk losing Michael Keane for nothing when his contract ends in 2018 rather than sell him for a cut-price fee at the end of this season.
The Clarets are already anticipating summer interest in their 24-year-old defender, who was last week nominated for the PFA Young Player of the Year accolade following a stellar campaign where he has also broken into Gareth Southgate's England team.
Burnley manager Sean Dyche has rubbished a report that Keane's departure this summer has already been determined, though as one of the country's top young centre-backs he is unlikely to be short of admirers.
Should Keane not extend his contract at Turf Moor, it would put Burnley in a quandary of whether they cash in on their most-prized asset this summer, or keep him until his deal expires the following term when he is 25 and available for free.
In Dyche's mind, it is a simple equation.
Asked if Burnley would be willing to let him run his deal down, he replied: "Absolutely, we're in a great position, if that came around. We're in a stronger position now.
"That's where the club has changed. It would have to be appropriate for all parties, and all parties are in the loop. There's no story, when everyone reads it they'll all say, 'That's exactly what we've been told'.
"I'm open and honest with the players. We'll look at it and speak to the relevant people - if it doesn't fit, crack on."
While clubs are looking at Keane - Everton manager Ronald Koeman publicly expressed his interest back in January - Dyche stressed it is far from a foregone conclusion that he has the final stretch of his Burnley career under him.
And he believes the Clarets' strong financial position, coupled with their likely presence in next season's Premier League, ensures they are under no pressure to offload the defender.
"I actually got told via a TV screen apparently that he will be leaving, that was news to me as a manager. The reality is that nothing's changed," Dyche added.
"If there was (interest from other clubs), it would only be something that we control. We're a different animal than what we were a few years ago, we're in a very strong situation now - the club financially, the way the business side is run.
"We can make those decisions when it's appropriate to do so. We're certainly not under any consideration of our players leaving at this moment in time.
"We're in control. He's under contract, people do forget that. It's a strange situation now, there's no two ways about it, players and other clubs have become more powerful because of finance.
"He's officially under contract. He equally knows the appropriate time when we will speak about his future. He knows that, he's well in the loop.
"It didn't need someone through the TV to tell me apparently he will be leaving, I don't know where that came from. A source, apparently. I'm always a good source, as manager. I'm pretty reliable as well."