It’s hard not to take The Sun’s claims that Bayern Munich are eyeing Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford with a pinch of salt. The red top have never been the most reliable of sources and although he’s missed the vast majority of the current season through injury, the Bundesliga champions happen to have probably the most dominant goalkeeper of the last half-decade at their disposal in the monolithic Manuel Neuer.
But could there be a scenario in which Bayern sanction the 75-cap international’s departure, and where could Everton turn should the German giants match their reported expectation of doubling the £30million spent on Pickford last summer? Football FanCast take a look at a transfer chain reaction that could see some of the best goalkeepers from the Premier League and yonder shuffle around Europe…
It’s been a hot topic in transfer columns since that infamous fax machine mix up in summer 2015 but with Zinedine Zidane out of the way, there’s nobody really left at Real Madrid to stop Florentino Perez moving heaven and earth to bring David De Gea back to the Spanish capital.
The former Atletico Madrid star represents one of the few upgrades the European champions can make on their first XI in terms of individual ability, but Manchester United will inevitably be reluctant to part with their talismanic shotstopper without a replacement lined up first, which brings us nicely onto…
The Sun sensationally claim there are doubts over Neuer’s future at Bayern Munich following a campaign which ended in September with a serious foot injury. It seems absurd considering the 32-year-old is unquestionably one of the best goalkeepers in the world, if not the very best.
But it’s also not the only report claiming the Bavarians will look to make significant changes to their squad this summer with The Daily Mail reporting that Jerome Boateng, Arturo Vidal, Thiago and Juan Bernat could be leaving the Allianz Arena as well. There are few goalkeepers United would feel comfortable replacing De Gea with, but the German World Cup winner is certainly one of them.
It would represent a remarkable rise for Pickford since first becoming a regular for relegated Sunderland during the 2016/17 season, which was only really due to a Vito Mannone injury. But the World Cup has often been a transformative tournament for players on the cusp of their peaks and Pickford has certainly grown into his role as England’s No.1 during his last few outings – especially in terms of distribution.
Of course, his capacity to impress will be largely dependent on the Three Lions’ progress, so the Bayern deal is certainly still in the category of wishful thinking.
In terms of who could quickly replace Pickford at Goodison, Jack Butland is probably the most obvious and obtainable option. There’s no doubt he’s far too talented for the Championship – even if he’s currently behind Pickford in Southgate’s pecking order – so the 25-year-old will expect to leave the Bet 365 Stadium come the end of the summer transfer window, even if that requires waiting until after the World Cup.
Transfermarkt value him at £19.8million and Stoke aren’t in a position to particularly push up on that valuation after their relegation. The only problem is whether Everton will find competition for Butland’s services from Liverpool – Loris Karius’ Champions League howler has only amplified their need for a dependable goalkeeper.