Aston Villa fans are reacting on Twitter to reports that Stoke City have significantly reduced their asking price for a former Villans target.
It was claimed that Dean Smith’s side were not prepared to pay the £25 million fee the Potters wanted for Butland, and moved on to alternative targets.
Tom Heaton later arrived at Villa Park from Burnley. And, after Heaton suffered a serious injury early on in his Aston Villa career, Pepe Reina was recruited on loan despite the club’s interest in Butland having reportedly resurfaced.
Meanwhile, Butland, who was for a while regarded as a future England number one, endured yet another difficult season in a Stoke side that claimed its second successive bottom-half finish in the Championship.
The 27-year-old let in 56 goals in 35 league games, several of which were results of his own mistakes, and ended the campaign on the bench.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Butland’s agent, Paul Stretford, reiterated that his client would prefer not to extend his contract at the Bet 365 Stadium, with his existing one having less than a year to run.
Stretford also claimed that ‘some very interesting opportunities’ failed to materialise for Butland last season and expects the Bristolian to see out the rest of his deal if a transfer cannot be arranged either this summer or in January.
According to Sky Sports, Stoke are now prepared to accept between £8 million and £10m for Butland – down at least £20m in two years.
And the Potters are already said to have received enquiries for the former Birmingham City player – albeit no bids.
Whether or not Aston Villa are among the clubs who have been in contact remains unclear.
But other ‘keepers, such as Robin Olsen of AS Roma, have been linked with moves to Villa Park this summer.
The Villans still have Heaton, Jed Steer, Orjan Nyland and Lovre Kalinic as options in Butland’s position, although the latter is thought to be surplus to requirements having spent the second half of last season on loan to Toulouse.
But if Smith can coax out the sort of form that once made Butland an England squad regular then £8-10m would be a steal.
And there some of a Villa persuasion who would welcome a move for the Stoke number one, at the asking price reported.
That is, of course, not a universally-held view within the Aston Villa fanbase. And there are plenty who see the club’s failure to sign Butland last year as a blessing in disguise.
Sky Sports‘ Butland report may have split some of a Villa persuasion, but there could be a compromise yet – say, if Butland were to stick around until his contract expires, before joining the Villans on a free.
And, with Nyland’s deal also in its final 12 months, there could be a greater need for the long-serving Stoke player then.
Aston Villa fans – what do you make of Sky Sports’ Butland report?