Liverpool are reportedly growing in confidence that they can complete a deal for Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland in the summer worth a potential £40 million.
According to John Richardson of the Sunday Mirror, Arsenal also have an interest in the 24-year-old stopper, but Butland is said to prefer a switch to Anfield, where he could play under the guidance of Jurgen Klopp.
As noted in the report, the fee would potentially usurp the world-record sum paid for a goalkeeper. That mark is currently the £34.7 million that Manchester City shelled out to secure Ederson from Benfica ahead of this season.
“Liverpool who have also been interested in Roma’s Brazilian stopper Alisson have decided that Butland’s Premier League experience can prove vital as they look to become realistic title challengers next season,” Richardson noted.
Richardson also reported that while Loris Karius has been impressive between the sticks at Anfield lately, Butland would be an “upgrade” in the eyes of Klopp.
While Stoke have been in terrible form this season—they are in 19th position in the table ahead of their match with City on Monday—Butland has been a consistent performer at the base of the side. Indeed, his manager Paul Lambert clearly rates the England international highly, per Goal UK:
Jack Butland, the best goalkeeper in Britain?
There have been some moments to forget for the former Birmingham City man this term, including a comical recent gaffe that cost his side a goal against Leicester City.
But there’s no denying Butland is a talent. At his best, he can offer a little bit of everything, as he is dominant in his box and quick off his line. Additionally, Butland is one of the best shot-stoppers in the Premier League; without him, Stoke’s plight would potentially be even worse.
Liverpool’s goalkeeper spot has been up for debate this season, although Karius has recently wrestled the starting berth from Simon Mignolet.
Per Philip Blundell from The Anfield Wrap, the German has looked increasingly like he can be a long-term option for the Reds:
Karius has got his save percentage up to 68%, which I know people were were really worried about when it was 44% of whatever it was. That’s the 6th best in the league after De Gea, Pope, Fabianski, Ryan and Ederson.
Be nice if we didn’t buy a keeper cos it turned out he’s good.
While there are still rough edges to his game, there has been a lot to like about the way Karius has played recently. He’s always seeking to get on the front foot, take pressure off his defence and, in recent home wins against Newcastle United and West Ham United, made important saves.
Karius has certainly given Klopp a decision to make on whether or not a new starter is needed. And you sense the current Liverpool goalkeeper, who will be part of the team’s push to finish in the top four and win the UEFA Champions League, will get a chance to stake his claim further in the coming weeks.
Butland may represent a tempting option for a lot of sides, as he has the potential to be a secure option at the base of a team for many years. However, at this moment in time, it’s unclear whether he is a significant improvement on Karius.