According to Sky Sports, Aston Villa and Bournemouth are set to fight it out for Stoke City and England goalkeeper Jack Butland this summer. The report claims that the Potters will only accept a bid higher than £20million to part with the highly-rated stopper.
Butland has two years left on his contract. However, he is understandably keen to move back to the top-flight of English football this summer.
Forgotten about in the Championship
Last season was a tough one for Stoke City after relegation from the Premier League the previous season. However, Butland was a standout player in the second tier and won the clubs Player of the Year award.
I have to admit it can be hard to keep track of players in the Championship. I had completely forgotten about Butland until a few months ago. Unfortunately, that is the effect that playing in the second tier can have on a player. They are less visible and so lose their profile.
Butland deserves credit for standing by Stoke, despite their relegation. However, for the sake of his career, he must now move on, as he is too good a goalkeeper to be plying his trade in the Championship.
Fallen behind in the race for England number one
Playing in the second tier has not helped Butland’s claims for the England number one spot. England boss Gareth Southgate has stated that he will only pick players who are playing regularly for their club at the top level.
Butland has been named in recent England squads, but he is very firmly understudy to Everton’s Jordan Pickford.
The Toffees goalkeeper finished the campaign in good form after a mid-season wobble. Despite the mid-season dip in form, interesting England boss Southgate kept faith with the former Sunderland star and he repaid his managers faith with his performances.
In truth, when Pickford first started his England career there was very little to choose between him and Butland. The Everton man is better with his feet, but many considered Butland to be the better all-around goalkeeper.
At 26-year-old Butland is actually older than Pickford. However, he is way behind the Everton star in the fight for the England number one jersey. In fact, there seems to be little competition at the minute.
Pickford is a firm favourite with boss Southgate. His stranglehold on the number one jersey will be hard to break. Butland is, however, odds of 1/7 to be in the Three Lions squad for Euro 2020, which England have yet to qualify for.
Butland would be a good signing for both Villa and Bournemouth
It seems likely that Jack Butland will be playing Premier League football next season. His destination is of yet unclear, though. He would be a good signing for both teams.
Villa won promotion last season via the play-off with Manchester United loanee Sam Johnstone in-between the sticks, while highly-rated Norwegian international Orjan Nyland is currently sidelined with an achilles injury. Butland seems like the perfect fit for a club like Villa, who will want to make sure they do not make a quick return to the second tier of English football.
Bournemouth have conceded a ridiculous amount of goals in recent seasons. The signing of Bosnia and Herzegovina star Asmir Begovic has failed to work out, as the former Stoke star has endured mixed fortunes on the south coast. Many would argue that Butland is a big upgrade on Begovic.
Whoever signs Jack Butland will be signing a very solid goalkeeper, who still has room to improve in the near future. The 26-year-old needs this move, as a player of his quality belongs in the English top-flight.
Who will sign Jack Butland this summer?
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