By Russell Edge
Everton have been installed as favourites ahead of local rivals Liverpool to secure the signing of Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland, according to the latest bookmakers’ odds.
The Toffees have been named by Sky Bet as 7/1 favourites to sign the 24-year-old keeper, who has recently returned to the Stoke first team after sustaining a fractured ankle while on international duty.
Ronald Koeman’s side lead local rivals Liverpool as favourites, who are priced at 10/1, followed by Manchester City (10/1), West Ham and Manchester United (12/1) and Arsenal (20/1).
Butland has been at The Potters since signing from Birmingham City in 2013, and has gone on to establish himself as a top class Premier League goalkeeper.
He has also broken into the England set up and has earned four caps for his country, having battled with the likes of Southampton’s Fraser Forster and Burnley’s Tom Heaton to play the role of understudy to number one Joe Hart.
Everton manager Koeman has rotated his goalkeepers this season, with Spaniard Joel Robles starting 18 games and Dutch keeper Maarten Stekelenberg starting 17 matches in the league this season.
However it seems the Dutch manager is looking for a permanent fixture between the sticks, and in Butland he is likely to find a long term replacement to Everton’s long serving keeper Tim Howard, who departed Goodison park in the summer of 2016.
In other Everton news, Mark Lawrenson has delivered his verdict on Everton’s clash with league leaders Chelsea.