Stoke City will target Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy if Jack Butland is sold this summer, according to the Daily Mirror [March 14th, page 51].
The report emerges days after the same publication claimed that Liverpool were 'closing in' on a £40 million deal for Butland, the Stoke number one.
McCarthy has spent much of his Southampton career to date as Fraser Forster's understudy, but has started each of the Saints' last 10 Premier League matches - and kept one of his two clean sheets against Stoke earlier this month.
However, with his contract up in less than 16 months time, the 28-year-old could be moved on this summer whether Southampton survive or not.
Stoke - who are a point and two positions worse off than the 17th-placed Saints - may have to persuade their former manager Mark Hughes to part with McCarthy, as his St Mary's appointment reportedly moves closer.
McCarthy began his career at Reading, for whom he also played in the Premier League along with Queens Park Rangers and Crystal Palace.
Is McCarthy a suitable Butland replacement?