Back in the 2013 winter transfer window, when Petr Čech was still guarding the goalposts at Stamford Bridge, rumours of Chelsea looking to acquire Jack Butland from Birmingham City made the rounds — despite already having Thibaut Courtois on the books and already making a name for himself at Atlético Madrid.
Perhaps precisely because of that situation, Butland opted to join Stoke City instead, though he’s only managed to put together one full season since for the Potters thanks to a couple loans (before Asmir Begović left to join Chelsea) and a couple ankle issues that required surgery. Things are looking better for him personally this season, despite a recent broken finger, though Stoke are closer to being involved in a relegation dogfight than their usual mid-table safety. Perhaps that situation is why they might be willing to let go of their starting goalkeeper — so claims the Daily Mail — but not cheaply, especially after Jordan Pickford fetched £30m on the open market last summer when moving from relegated Sunderland to Everton.
The Mail are also claiming that Butland is a possibility for Chelsea should the situation with Courtois fail to work itself out into a new contract extension. Thibaut’s contract still has 18 months remaining, but after a year’s worth of rumors, we seem no closer to actually agreeing an extension.
Butland is highly rated and has been tipped to become the new England no.1 in the future. Still, he is not on the level of world class players such as Courtois and is only one year younger than the Chelsea man. Going from Courtois to Butland would be a massive downgrade, which would not be offset by any financial windfall fetched by Courtois’ potential transfer fee (to PSG or Real Madrid or whoever).
All in all, just a rumour to keep us on our toes, and perhaps give Chelsea a bit of leverage in negotiations with Courtois’ team.