Jack Butland was once tipped to be England’s first choice goalkeeper for the next 15 years, but injuries have curtailed his progress, forcing him to miss a couple of seasons. The Stoke City shot stopper is getting close to his best once again, and the interest is once again hotting up for his signature.
With the rumours gathering pace, Butland has taken to social media to deny asking to leave Stoke, telling fans not to believe everything they read, and showing a complete distain for grammar in the process.
The keeper may have denied asking to leave, but he hasn’t said he won’t leave. Should an offer come this summer, its likely Jack Butland will leave the Potters, and so he should. This season they have shipped 53 goals and sit 19th in the league, so if Butland wants to improve, he must get away from a club that appears to be going backwards.
At just 24 years old, he has a big future ahead of him, and he could still go to the World Cup as England’s number one, but he must move to a big club to really unleash his potential. Recent reports have seen him linked strongly to Arsenal, who are thoroughly scouting Europe for a new goalkeeper following the rapid decline of Petr Cech.
For Arsenal, this move makes a lot of sense. They would be getting a home-grown Premier League proven goalkeeper, who is young enough to develop and mature enough to make an immediate impact. At this stage, Butland’s biggest strengths are his shot stopping and the ability to command his area, two areas where Petr Cech can either excel or frustrate. His weakness, which he appears to be working on, is his footwork.
Arsenal currently face the same issue with Petr Cech, with his footwork putting them in tricky situations on a regular basis. With Butland this would not be as big of an issue, as it appears Arsene Wenger does not ask his keeper to play out from the goalkeeper in the way Tottenham or Manchester City do; Cech has brought these issues upon himself by trying to play football in tight areas or when he has been under pressure, rather than clearing his lines.
If Butland moved to Arsenal, his footwork would naturally improve as a result of training at a higher level and being surrounded by more technical players. He would also benefit from having defenders who are comfortable on the ball, something he does not have at Stoke. Can you imagine Ryan Shawcross trying to mix it on the deck? No one can.
Overall, this move makes a lot of sense for Butland and for Arsenal, but a move must be tied up before the World Cup. If Arsenal let negotiations drag on through the tournament, it will become more difficult to complete, and it’s likely they will turn to someone who is easier to obtain, rather than a quality keeper like Butland.