Reports: Chelsea to part with world record fee for 24-year-old superstar
Antonio Conte may be losing a crucial player beforehand though
What's the story?
Chelsea are all set to make a world record bid for Stoke City's Jack Butland, with a view to replacing Thibaut Courtois, according to a report in British news outlet, The Daily Express. The Blues have seen contract negotiations with their Belgian goalkeeper come to a standstill and are thus on the lookout for replacements.
Marina Granovskaia, currently handling transfer business at the Premier League giants after the departure of Michael Emenalo, has identified the 24-year-old Butland as a long-term replacement for Courtois. However, Stoke will hold out for a massive fee, and the Londoners will have to make a world record bid in the range of £41 million to tempt the Potters into selling.
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In case you didn't know...
Butland spent most of his youth career at Birmingham City, making his first-team breakthrough in 2010, at the age of 17. After a loan spell at Cheltenham, Butland soon became a first-team regular, winning the club's 'Young Player of the Year' award in 2013. With the Blues experiencing financial difficulties they were forced to sell their private asset. Stoke City were the winners for the sought-after goalkeeper's signature, signing him for a paltry £3.5 million in 2013.
The heart of the matter
Famously enough, Butland turned down Chelsea before signing for Stoke, noting that he did not want to play 'second-fiddle' to Petr Cech. However, Chelsea are hopeful that the prospect of first-team football will see negotiations be far more successful this time around.
Thibaut Courtois is naturally Antonio Conte's preferred option, although the Belgian is unhappy with the wages Chelsea are currently offering. The 25-year-old's contract runs out in 2019, and the Blues are hoping to cash in if he does not sign an extension.
Butland's contract with Stoke runs out in 2021, and the Potters have the advantage in any negotiations. Thus, Chelsea will have to beat the world record fee (€40 million) Manchester City paid Benfica for the services of Ederson to stand any chance of signing Butland.
A world record fee to bring in Jack Butland would represent strange business from Chelsea. An improved wage offer to tempt Courtois into signing would surely be the cheaper option and it is hard to see the logic in this transfer. While Butland is one of the most talented young keepers around, Chelsea already have one in Courtois and should do everything in their power to keep the Belgian in London.