According to reports from The Times, Everton are lining up an improved contract for Jordan Pickford amid interest in his services from Chelsea, who are seeking replacements for Thibaut Courtois, following his heroic performances for England at the World Cup.
And while there’s no suggestion Pickford is actively looking to leave Goodison Park, rejecting that deal would be a pretty big indication that the 24-year-old wants to move on and test himself at a club challenging for bigger honours.
Which all begs an interesting question: should Chelsea make an offer that’s simply too good to turn down, or should Pickford make it clear he wants to leave by turning down the chance to improve his wages, who should new Director of Football Marcel Brands bring in as the England international’s replacement? Football FanCast lay out six suggested solutions…
Perhaps the obvious candidate to replace Pickford, the logic being that both goalkeepers were deemed to be on pretty much equal terms as they auditioned for England’s No.1 berth ahead of the World Cup. The former Sunderland youngster eventually won that battle, but Jack Butland’s a talented goalkeeper nonetheless and far too good to spend at least a season in the Championship with Stoke City.
There have been question marks over Butland’s mental resilience in the past but at the age of 25, the glovesman who made the most saves of any Premier League goalkeeper last term – a whopping 144 – should really be coming into his own. He’s valued at £19.8million by Transfermarkt but with three years left on his contract, Stoke can reasonably expect to push for a bit more than that sum.
He’s certainly damaged goods and his biggest weakness, saves to his left-hand side, has been glaringly exposed. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that for seven straight seasons as Manchester City’s No.1, including two title-winning campaigns, Hart was widely considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.
After three years of pure misery for the veteran shot-stopper, climaxing this summer with his omission from Gareth Southgate’s World Cup squad, Hart will be desperate to rebuild his reputation somewhere, and City are equally desperate to sell now that his contract has entered its final twelve months.
A risky signing in terms of whether Hart’s performance levels will go up or further down, but if it’s the former then Everton could end up signing a top-class goalkeeper with bags of Premier League experience on the cheap.
Jasper Cillessen rose to prominence at the 2014 World Cup, playing a key role in the Netherlands’ unexpected march to the semi-finals, but has hardly kicked (or should that be saved) a ball since signing for Barcelona two years later, going on to make just 21 appearances in all competitions – mostly in the Copa del Rey.
The Dutchman is a talented and trusted goalkeeper though, particularly famed for his shot-stopping from close range, and although he no doubt enjoys life at the Nou Camp, at the age of 29 he surely wants to get back to playing first-team football sooner rather than later. Everton seems like a pretty smart destination for him too, one where there’s not too much pressure for him to truly showcase his qualities but enough to inspire consistently strong performances.
There’s already been talk of Kasper Schmeichel leaving Leicester City this summer and it’s not hard to understand why. The Danish international is, after all, a Premier League-winning goalkeeper and why he may not quite belong in the top calibre of glovesmen, he’s a fantastic leader and organiser – someone who barks at defenders and refuses to let team-mates off the hook when they make mistakes regardless of reputation.
That mentality suggests Schmeichel has what it takes to make the step up to a more challenging club, which could bring a higher level of performance out of him too. Aged 31, the son of Peter is very much at the start of his theoretical goalkeeping peak.
It just hasn’t quite worked out for Kevin Trapp at PSG. Despite holding onto his place in Germany’s senior squad for the World Cup, the 28-year-old made just four starts in Ligue 1 last season having lost his No.1 berth to Alphonse Areola.
But Joachim Lowe is clearly a fan of the three-cap international, who he selected over Arsenal signing Bernd Leno, and that harks back to Trapp’s time at Eintracht Frankfurt where he helped them qualify for the Europa League the year after gaining promotion back to the Bundesliga. With his contract due to expire in two years and a new manager in Thomas Tuchel taking over at Parc de Princes this summer, now is the time to tempt the French champions into selling.
A Premier League goalkeeping icon who may have to settle for a spot on the bench this season following the arrival of the aforementioned Leno at Arsenal. In truth, Cech’s looked nowhere near as imperious for the Gunners as he did for former club Chelsea, and at 36 you have to wonder whether that’s down to Arsenal’s less sturdy defence, the effects of age or a combination of both.
The prevailing headline is that Cech’s not the force he once was – but for Everton, he’d be a solid addition who adds real experience and pedigree to the team. A summer departure is certainly possible too, the only potential hiccup being if Arsenal sell David Ospina instead.