Written by Adam McGroarty (@AdamMcGroarty1)
With 46 appearances across multiple England youth ranks and 9 with the senior side, it is clear to see why Jack Butland is a goalkeeper multiple clubs want to bring back to the elite division in England – the Premier League.
Butland, who was part of England’s 2018 World Cup squad, is currently contracted with Stoke City but his six year stay at the bet365 Stadium could soon be coming to an end.
AFC Bournemouth and newly-promoted Aston Villa have been the two front-runners fighting for Butland’s signature, but could be priced out of a move with Stoke City demanding £25m for the shot-stopper.
Villa’s Playoff Fortune
Aston Villa were promoted via the playoffs last season and therefore have a huge amount of prize money at their disposal. Last season saw Fulham, the 2018 Championship playoff winners, splash around £100m on transfers in one window alone – the winner gets a total of £170m in parachute payments.
Aston Villa have already spent big on their return to the Premier League, acquiring Wesley, Matt Targett and Tyrone Mings for a combined fee of around £55m. Kortney Hause and Jota have also joined the club, but Dean Smith wants to bring a new goalkeeper to Villa Park.
Recent reports suggest Villa’s interest in Butland has ended and are instead pursuing Burnley’s Tom Heaton. However, the club’s willingness to spend £26m to take Mings on a permanent deal from Bournemouth means they will almost certainly have an eye on a £25m deal for Butland.
Here’s what some Villa fans have to say:
Never against the idea of Heaton, just always preferred Butland, still a very good signing and I have no doubts he alone will win us points. #avfc
— Jack Millman (@LordMillman29) July 9, 2019
— Super_Villan🦁 (@Super_Villan17) July 8, 2019
Cherries to Pay Big?
AFC Bournemouth have taken a rather reserved and cautious approach when making signings this summer. Here’s a look at their business so far:
|Club transferred from||Position||Fee|
|Lloyd Kelly||Bristol City||Left-back||£13m|
|Jack Stacey||Luton Town||Right-back||£4m|
Eddie Howe’s side have also been interested in securing a deal for Butland and, like Villa, are reluctant to match Stoke’s £25m valuation. Last season emphasised the need for the Cherries to dip into the market for a goalkeeper, with Begovic being dropped from the side and Artur Boruc getting a run of games. Howe also awarded a start to youngster Mark Travers at the end of the season, emphasising their desperate need for a new no. 1.
With Howe possibly looking to offload Begovic to free-up a space in the goalkeeping department, an alternative would be to include the Bosnian in a deal for Butland – therefore lowering Stoke’s asking price. Stoke may be open to welcoming back their former no. 1, Begovic left for Stamford Bridge in 2015.
Here’s how Begovic’s 2018/19 campaign compared to Butland’s:
|Matches Played||Goals Conceded||Clean Sheets|
|Begovic||24||44 (1.83 per game)||5 (21%)|
|Butland||45||48 (1.07 per game)||18 (40%)|
So as it stands, Aston Villa and Bournemouth are both fighting for Butland but remain reluctant to pay Stoke’s asking price of £25m. Bournemouth have had a bid of £12m rejected for the player and are expected to submit a new and improved offer, which could include Asmir Begovic.