Report: Wenger enters four-horse race with PL giants for proven 24-year-old star
By Matt Bullin
Arsene Wenger has entered the race to sign Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland, according to a report.
The Mirror claims Arsenal are looking at the 24-year-old to bolster their goalkeeping options as David Ospina looks set to leave this summer.
Man City, Man United and Chelsea are all said to interested as well however, after a fine season from Butland.
Man United are said to be keeping tabs in case David De Gea finally leaves United this summer, with Real Madrid still waiting in the wings.
His situation became even less clear after he was dropped from United’s Premier league squad for the Southampton game on Wednesday.
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Chelsea are also fearful of losing their number one – Thibaut Courtois – to Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Man City could be on the lookout for a new number one after Claudio Bravo has failed to impress in his role after Joe Hart was shipped out on loan to Torino.
Butland, who is under contract until 2021, has recently returned to the Potters’ starting XI after a year out with an ankle injury.
He has played in all four of Stoke’s most recent Premier League matches, keeping one clean sheet in the 0-0 draw with West Ham.
The three-time England international had proved himself as Stoke’s number one prior to his injury though, and was a mainstay last season, making 35 league and cup appearances.
If he does move, he will want the guarantee of first-team football, which means that this is one transfer that will require the current goalkeeper merry-go-round situation to be more defined.
Football Insider verdict
With Ospina set to leave in search of first-team football, Butland could be an ideal signing for Arsenal. The 24-year-old is good enough to challenge Petr Cech for the number one spot but he is also young enough to realise his time will come and spend some time on the bench. Despite his long-term injury lay-off, he has shown glimpses of his top form and he could very feasibly challenge Cech next term. However Butland may prefer to opt for a club where he will be guaranteed a starting spot, with one eye on England selection for the 2018 World Cup.
In other Arsenal transfer news, Wenger is eyeing a shock swoop for this want-away Chelsea striker.