Birmingham to offload top England talent with Everton on alert
Penniless west Midlands club ready to sell prized asset to appease financial worries
Everton will be monitoring the protracted takeover situation at Birmingham, as the cash-strapped club are thought to be willing to offload Jack Butland to ease their financial woes.
After a strong start to Premier League proceedings, the Toffees are now 10/11 to secure a top-six finish and have earmarked the England under-21 stopper as the long-term replacement for regular number one, Tim Howard.
Along with Southampton, Everton chased Butland throughout the summer, with the former thought to have had a £6m bid knocked back. Blues boss Lee Clark slapped a price tag three times that amount on his head, which undoubtedly put the Merseyside club off making a move.
However, due to their worsening fiscal issue, Birmingham will be forced to lower their demands for the 19-year-old, who became England’s youngest ever goalkeeper in the 2-1 friendly win over Italy earlier in the season, unless they can find a speedy resolution in the boardroom.
Butland has made 34 appearances at club level and has established himself as the number one at St. Andrews following an impressive loan spell at Cheltenham in League Two.
A move to Everton, where he would no doubt revert to the role of inexperienced understudy, would make sense a few seasons down the line, when he would be ready to walk in as a top-flight number one, but with Howard firmly in the frame for the foreseeable future, it is difficult to imagine Butland being willing to throw his guaranteed starting berth away.
It is also hard to envisage the notoriously frugal Toffees blowing a likely eight-figure sum on a player that wasn’t going to be the star of the show at Goodison Park, which could also scupper a potential move.
Whether they or Southampton do pounce, they are sure to make a profit on whatever they shell out for Butland, a player whose goalkeeping potential is greater than any on the planet right now.
All odds and markets accurate as of publication’s time and date