Chelsea Make A Move For Jack Butland

We’ve been linked to Jack Butland for a little while now, but I always hesitated when it came to writing about it because there never se...

We’ve been linked to Jack Butland for a little while now, but I always hesitated when it came to writing about it because there never seemed anything concrete enough to base the links on. Now that Sky Sports are reporting that we have made a bid however, I feel there is enough reason to look at the potential this signing could have.

Let’s talk about Butland first of all. He’s relatively new on the scene, and was originally scouted by bigger clubs while on loan at Cheltenham Town from Birmingham during last season.

I happen to be in quite a good position to talk about him because my best mate lives and dies for Birmingham City and has kept me informed on him for over a year. He spent the whole of last season telling me about this young goalkeeper that was out on loan who would become the next big thing. It was him that made me aware of Butland before he ever got his call up to the Olympic GB team. 

He left Cheltenham Town after his final game to a standing ovation from the crowd, and his exploits while on loan were what earned him a starting place in the Olympic GB squad, his place in the Euros squad (after Ruddy withdrew through injury) and his first England appearance in a friendly against Italy. In fact he is the youngest goalkeeper to ever earn a cap for England

So Butland looked like he might just be the next big thing as my mate was claiming. If we had tried to sign him back then, I would have been very excited. However, since then, his form has dipped a bit while playing for Birmingham.

I’ve watched a couple Birmingham games this season and on both occasion he looked a little dodgy, especially when coming out to claim or punch the ball from a cross. It seems that he has been struggling for consistency, making a lot of mistakes and my mate even told me this morning (and I quote): “If you signed him for £1m he would be a bigger waste of money than the deal for Torres.”  

Well, he’s obviously exaggerating, but you get his point. He doesn’t really rate him anymore and is hugely frustrated with how he seems to have gone backwards this season. I trust his assessments because he really is an expert on his club. I might add that while he was impressive through the Olympics, he looked a little calamitous during the 45 minutes that he was playing for England.

That said, the lad is only 19. You might even say that you would expect these kind of mistakes from him, especially when the weight of expectation on him has been so huge. Even though he hasn't stood out in the Championship so far, the most important thing that makes this deal potentially beneficial for us, were it to go through, is that is reputation remains intact. A good four or five EPL clubs have also been linked with him, and a year like the one he had last season is not forgotten in a few months, nor does talent like that disappear over night.

I say that it’s important that he hasn’t lost that reputation because were we to sign him, it would be for a different purpose than our other keepers serve. We already have two world class keepers in Cech and Courtois. The latter is likely to go on loan in the EPL next season, but in the immediate seasons after, were we to keep both of them at first, Butland wouldn’t really get a look in.

It looks like Turnbull and Hilario’s contracts will be up in the summer, so our position next season would likely see us with Cech, Butland and Blackman as our first squad keepers as things stand (as I doubt Courtois will be coming into the squad).

I also don’t think the potential signing of Butland would affect Courtois’ potential at Chelsea, or the likelihood of him being sold. For the moment, I would suspect that they are wanted at Chelsea for different reasons. Courtois is seen as the future and Butland perhaps more as a back up with plenty of talent and with a potential for high sell-on value. He would also count towards our home grown contingent.

Putting aside what my mate said about his value earlier in the article, £3 million (which is what the bid is rumoured to approximately be) is not a bad amount of money for a player who is to serve this purpose. He will be capable of standing in when needed and can be developed into a source of profit at worst. I don’t think it would have a huge affect on the progress of Blackman either, as keepers often take a little longer to develop, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them was loaned out anyway.

Butland is not in the same league as Courtois or Cech, two exceptional goalkeepers, nor do I personally believe he ever will be. That’s my opinion but then again it is early to be making that claim and I still believe that this signing would benefit the club.

Benitez has said that we won’t be bringing in anymore players, but on the other hand he has also said that it isn’t his job, so who knows really. Besides, even if we didn’t bring Butland in now, there would still be a good chance of us brining him in during the summer. Our interest is certainly there. I may have questioned his form this season, but he has certainly proven before now that he has the talent and attitude we’re looking for, and even if he didn’t play a great deal, he would still serve a purpose at Chelsea.

Follow on twitter: @cody_bound

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