What the best-case scenario for Jack Butland?
Jack Butland hasn’t seen the starting squad so far this season and the situation seems to be souring fast. The 27 year-old England international has seemingly lost his starting job and also the confidence of Michael O’Neill. Since the tail end of last season, Adam Davies has taken command of Stoke’s goalkeeping . He has been simply outstanding, and could very well be considered the first name on the team sheet for the Potters.
So what to do with Butland? Jack has already made it clear that he is going to let his contract expire at the end of the 20/21 season. Probably the worst situation for Butland would be a continuation of what we have already seen – where he gets little to no playing time and basically wastes an entire season before moving on next year to another club. It’s a not a good situation for Butland who had plenty of chances to solidify his starting role – now that he’s lost it, he’s in a tough spot.
The best solution at this point would be a transfer. The problem with this is that Butland is no where near his value from just a few years prior which is surely making negotiations tricky. For other clubs, it would probably be wise to wait till January to swoop in and sign Butland, with hopefully a massive discount, or to wait until next summer. Signing an out of form Championship keeper is a risky investment and it would probably take a vulnerable club on a losing slide, or an injury, to jump at a signing in the short-term. Making a signing even more difficult, is the fact that Jack Butland was statistically terrible last season, which does not make his addition to a club a clear positive.
Of course, the recent swap deal for Southampton’s Angus Gunn has been widely reported on. Despite the momentum that this deals seems to have, you have to think Angus Gunn would be looking to start for Stoke, and with Davies playing as well as he has, that just can’t be guaranteed at the moment. Gunn is not a number two keeper in the Championship, so this would be a really hard sell for him to agree to such a move. Adding talent to your roster is never a bad thing, but you don’t want to add talent that would put an ounce of concern in the mind of Davies who has been arguably the best player for Stoke this season. A more realistic option would be a sub 10 million transfer for a Premier League side looking for a number two, or someone to compete with an out of form starter.