Aston Villa Opinion: Why Aston Villa should make a swoop for Jack Butland
According to the Birmingham Mail, Aston Villa are weighing up a £20m bid for Stoke City and England international shot-stopper Jack Butland, with reports claiming that the Lions are looking to add depth and quality to all areas of their squad in a bid to ensure survival in the Premier League.
Villa are not the only club to have been credited with an interest in the 26-year-old though, with Butland linked with an array of top-flight clubs in the summer transfer window. (h/t Birmingham Mail)
Dean Smith’s side are readying a bid to bring Butland to Villa Park this summer but they are likely to face stiff competition from the likes of Crystal Palace, Watford and Bournemouth in their pursuit of the highly-rated shot-stopper, the Birmingham Mail understands.
One of the few shining lights of Stoke’s disappointing 2017-18 campaign in the Premier League which ended in relegation, Butland once again proved his worth as a bonafide shot-stopper this past season, as Nathan Jones’ side finished 16th in the Championship.
The Potters’ failure to challenge for promotion at the first time of asking is likely to put a question mark over the future of a number of first-team stars, including Butland.
The 9-cap England international was an ever-present for Stoke City between the sticks in the Championship last term, making 45 appearances and accumulating 18 clean sheets in the process, with Dean Henderson (Sheffield United) and Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough) being the only goalkeepers to have registered more clean sheets.
A product of Birmingham City’s youth system, Butland made his move to Stoke City back in 2013 and spent time on loan at his boyhood club, Barnsley, Leeds United and Derby County prior to establishing himself as the No.1 for the Potters.
The 26-year-old Bristol-born star has gone on to carve out a reputation for himself as one of the best goalkeepers in England, managing 41 clean sheets in 132 appearances for Stoke in all competitions.
To put things into perspective, a move back to the Premier League would make it easier for Butland to challenge for the No.1 role on the international front for England, whilst Aston Villa would undoubtedly bag a massive coup if they manage to beat off competition for the 26-year-old.
The Lions are currently not crying out for reinforcements in the goalkeeping department but one can get the feeling that Butland would be an upgrade on their existing options.
Orjan Nyland was the undisputed No.1 for Villa earlier in the previous campaign but the Norwegian looked shaky and just didn’t do enough to justify his selection between the sticks before being sidelined with a long-term injury.
In reaction to Nyland’s injury, Dean Smith signed Croatian international Lovre Kalinic in January but the Croatian too had to be sidelined with an injury after conceding as many as 8 goals in his first 3 games at Villa Park.
Jed Steer was recalled from his loan spell at Charlton Athletic to don the gloves and the former England youth international went on to play a key role for the Lions in the second half of the campaign, as Smith’s side beat Derby County in the playoff finals to secure promotion back to the Premier League.
The 26-year-old’s solid performances between the sticks saw him accumulate 6 clean sheets in 16 Championship outings, conceding only 12 goals in the process.
Steer proved his credentials in the second-tier this past season but bringing in a top-quality goalkeeper with Premier League experience would certainly enhance Villa’s chances of survival in the top-flight.
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One of them would have to leave for sure and Smith might have to make a choice between Steer, Nyland and Kalinic as to who faces the chop.
A player of Butland’s calibre certainly belongs to the Premier League and Aston Villa should relish having a reliable presence like him at the back in the top-flight next term.