Date: 23rd June 2019 at 5:00pm
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EXCLUSIVE

Noel Whelan admits that he is blown away by Aston Villa’s hunt to sign Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland and insists he would be a quality signing between the sticks.

The former Leeds United star, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, says that Villa were lacking in the required quality in goal last season, heralding the impact made by the return of loaned-out Jed Steer, and that the giant England ace would be a real statement of intent.

Dean Smith’s men are reported by Sky Sports to be in pursuit of Butland, who is said to have a £20million price tag set on him by the Potters, as they look to prepare for a season back in the Premier League.

Whelan says that despite the 6ft 5in shot-stopper having a “mixed season” in the Championship, he would be an excellent addition to the squad and the sort of signing which sends a message to the rest of the top flight.

He told Football Insider: “You need that sort of quality in those sort of areas. He had a mixed season last year, teams have been after him, he’s an England international, he’d be a very good signing.

“We do know that obviously that is an area until they brought Jed Steer back, where they were struggling in as well. To have Jack Butland at the club shows intent that yeah, they’re trying to strengthen that spine.

“If they can get Jack Butland in, wow. Good signing, good goalkeeper, bags of experience, international quality.”

Butland, who has nine caps under his belt for England, missed all but one of his club’s 46 Championship fixtures during the 2018/19 campaign, Stoke eventually finishing 16th in their first season back in the second tier.

Villa meanwhile used four different goalkeepers on the way to play-off success, Steer joined by Orjan Nyland, Lovre Kalinic and Mark Bunn in starting at least one game.

In other Aston Villa news, it can be REVEALED that a mammoth £15million bid is on its way.