Although Jurgen Klopp’s improving Liverpool side did in-fact manage to register a positive result against Swansea City last time out, the future of their first choice ‘keeper between the sticks remains incredibly murky at Anfield.
For one reason or another, Simon Mignolet has never quite adjusted to his current position as Liverpool’s preferred shot-stopper, leading Reds fans to question why the Belgian goalkeeper was even signed at their club in the first place.
The January transfer window therefore offers Klopp the chance to replace his rather unpredictable no. 22 in favour of a much more suitable option, should the enigmatic German coach eventually decide to take pragmatic action this winter.
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His side have subsequently been linked with a vast array of talent so far this season, with Stoke City’s Jack Butland being singled out as the supposed first choice goalkeeping target on Merseyside.
However, as the rising Potters star will reportedly cost in the region of £20million if certain reports are to be believed – must Liverpool really move for Jack Butland this January, or should the Reds hierarchy ultimately point their resources elsewhere?
Well, Jack Butland would certainly represent an improvement on Simon Mignolet. Although we are yet to see just how reliable the 22-year-old shot-stopper really is, Liverpool’s current first choice goalie has simply made one too many mistakes to be taken seriously these days.
Mignolet isn’t an entirely useless ‘keeper by any accounts, he’s just not quite worthy of representing a side clearly trying to aim for bigger and better things this season. After a series of ridiculous antics against Bordeaux in the Europa League last week, it seems as if the 27-year-old goalkeeper hasn’t learnt from his previous mistakes at Anfield – subsequently casting serious doubt over his ability to help Liverpool improve as an all-round collective unit.
Jack Butland has conversely been in rather impressive form throughout the 2015/16 campaign thus far, keeping Stoke City in several important matches that could have easily gotten away from them. The 22-year-old is also expected to push Joe Hart for the no. 1 England jersey in the run up to Euro 2016, so Liverpool certainly wouldn’t be aiming too low in trying to source the in-demand Potters favourite this January.
The major stumbling-block standing in the way of the Reds in this deal, though, arrives in the form of Stoke City’s reported £20million asking price. It would be absolutely ridiculous for any club to spend that much on Butland at this early stage in his career, especially for a club like Liverpool, who have wasted more than enough resources on over-priced English players in the past.
It’s crazy how half a decent season in the Premier League is all it really takes to be labelled a £20million player in the modern era. Although Jack Butland has certainly looked promising so far, we’ve barely even known his name long enough to become accustomed to the 22-year-old’s services.
Joe Hart was clearly over-rated when he first burst onto the scene of course – and after a succession of major errors in the Manchester City net over the last few seasons, some are already calling into question his validity as Roy Hodgson’s first choice England ‘keeper this season.
Yes, competition for Butland could well increase in the not too distant future, but should that point alone force the Reds to act without consideration this January? Of course not.
With everything taken into account, Liverpool could easily look to land Jack Butland in light of Simon Mignolet’s fluctuating performances of late. However, as their current main man between the sticks hasn’t been completely awful throughout the duration of his entire Reds career, Klopp would seemingly be somewhat mad to spend £20million on a replacement goalkeeper – when he could arguably wait until the summer and sign Butland for a fraction of his current price.
The emerging Stoke City star looks good at this stage in the season for sure, but nowhere near that good.