When Stoke City snapped up Jack Butland in the January transfer window, he was immediately sent back to Birmingham City on loan for the rest of the season.
The overall feeling was that his signature was as a replacement for The Potters current incumbent between the sticks, Asmir Begovic.
The Bosnian was probably Stoke’s best player last season by some way, and it was expected he might just be on his way out of the club this summer - with the likes of Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea just some of the teams linked with his signature.
So, snapping up Butland, from under the nose of Everton and Chelsea, in January made perfect sense.
However Begovic hasn’t gone anywhere, so now what? Who should be the number one stopper at The Britannia Stadium this term?
Well this is a no-brainer in my opinion, they must stick with Begovic.
I have yet to see anything that convinces me that Butland is the future of England goalkeeping, and right now, he has to be considered the unfinished article.
If Begovic, like many goalkeepers in professional football, was approaching the advent of his career, then going with the young option would make a morsel of sense.
But Begovic is just 26-years-old, and has years of football yet to come, far too long for Butland to sit around, playing every now and again.
For me, the best option is to send Butland back out on loan again next season, in order for him to play regular first-team football. The beauty of doing so is that Stoke are not bereft of a second-choice option - with experienced Premier League custodian Thomas Sorensen still on the books.
Begovic was arguably one of the Premier League’s top stoppers in 2012-13, and to replace him with a youngster with no goalkeeping experience at this level, who also struggled at the European Under-21 Championships this summer, would be madness - even for Mark Hughes.
Butland has the potential to be great, but right now he is nowhere near being a Premier League goalkeeper and until he is Begovic must remain number one.
And Butland’s time will come, just not yet.
image: © ronnie macdonald