Chelsea have identified Jack Butland as the man who will replace Thibaut Courtois if the Belgian goalkeeper joins Real Madrid before the end of the transfer window.
Courtois failed to report for Chelsea training on Monday, and it is believed that he is trying to force through a transfer. His agent has pleaded with the club to let him leave so that he can be nearer to his family in Spain.
If Courtois did leave, Chelsea would be left with the error-prone Willy Caballero, the ageing Robert Green and the inexperienced Marcin Bulka as their goalkeeping options.
The Blues have therefore turned to Butland, a seasoned Premier League campaigner with Stoke before the Potters’ relegation in May. He also has eight international caps and was part of the England squad that reached the World Cup semi finals this summer.
Mundo Deportivo claims that the Blues could go for Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak instead, but his €100m price tag will surely prove too high and English journalists agree that Butland is a more likely option.
Sky Sports News reports that initial contact has been made between Chelsea and Stoke for Butland, but the 25-year-old will command a £30m transfer fee.
Stoke want a hasty resolution to the matter so that they can sign a replacement goalkeeper, having already lost Lee Grant to Manchester United this summer.
Chelsea find themselves in a slightly awkward situation, as Real Madrid will be able to sign Courtois until the end of August. The English transfer window closes this Thursday so the Blues may have to sign Butland before knowing if they need him.
Butland made a rare error in Stoke’s defeat to Leeds on Sunday, allowing a Pablo Hernandez effort to creep through his hands and into the net as the Potters lost 3-1 on their Championship return.