The 24-year-old joined the Saddlers on loan last August and quickly became a fans’ favourite at the Banks’s.
Ismail impressed in 16 outings for the club, but while Walsall wanted to extend the loan, managerial changes at Gigg Lane saw him stay with the Shakers.
But following Bury’s relegation to League Two, Ismail has been released and Keates admits he has been impressed by the tricky forward.
“I watched Bury a few times last season,” the boss said. “Firstly in the build-up to our game and they were also playing against teams we had coming up.
“He (Ismail) is lively. He is somebody that, yes, we could look at him. But it’s still early days and there will be a lot of conversations going on. I’m interested in all good players coming to this football club.”
Bolstering Walsall’s attacking line is one of the biggest tasks Keates faces this summer.
Rumours had surfaced he was interested in signing Blackpool striker Scott Quigley, who Keates snapped up on loan while in charge of Wrexham.
But the Saddlers chief said the 25-year-old won’t be joining Walsall this summer, with the forward still contracted to Blackpool for another year. “Quiggs (Quigley) is someone I took on loan at Wrexham,” the boss continued.
“He has got a year left at Blackpool, he was not a Wrexham player, he was only a loan.
“He came in and got eight in 17 over the course of his loan period.
“But it was a case of him coming to Wrexham to prove to people at Blackpool he could do it at a better standard than he had with TNS.
“That is no disrespect to the Welsh Premier League.
“When he won all his trophies and was scoring all his goals, he was doing it with the only full-time team in the division.
“There are one or two others who have gone full-time now.
“He has gone up to Blackpool and only played a bit part.
“But he is not somebody who will be coming to this football club.”