Spanish clubs target Butland deal
Jack Butland's agent has revealed Liverpool were among the clubs keen on the goalkeeper before he joined Stoke - and he may now head to Spain.
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1. Jack Butland
Stoke fought off competition from a number of other Premier League clubs to sign Butland from Birmingham in January, with the 20-year-old saying he 'needs to be playing Premier League football'.
Butland was immediately loaned back to Birmingham for the rest of the season after making the move, and with Stoke's current number one, Asmir Begovic, now looking likely to remain at the Britannia Stadium this summer, the England goalkeeper could head out on loan again.
Butland's agent, Gary Mellor, revealed there has been interest in his client from Spain amid reports of interest from Real Sociedad.
He told 6 Towns Radio: "If Asmir does go it means Stoke have got somebody for the future. It might not be this season, it could be the season after.
"When I was in Barcelona a couple of Spanish clubs wanted to talk to me about taking Jack.
"We have to weigh up all possibilities and I have to keep him playing so if Asmir is still here on September 2nd I'm hopeful that Jack isn't. I don't see him sitting on the bench at Stoke City.
"Mark Hughes might see that differently and that's when Stoke and I do have issues. I have to keep Jack playing so that his international ambitions are on track and he continues to develop. There's nothing like actual games to help you develop, especially as a young goalkeeper."
Mellor also explained why Butland joined Stoke ahead of Chelsea, Liverpool and a number of other top clubs.
"Obviously it was well documented that we turned down Chelsea," Mellor said. "We turned down other top-four teams; there probably wasn't any of the big six that didn't show an interest.
"I had a meeting with Liverpool about Jack, and (Liverpool's managing director) Ian Ayre said the only player Steven Gerrard has ever picked up the phone and called them to sign was Jack when he was in the England squad in Poland and Ukraine last summer.
"That shows how highly thought of he is, and I think Stoke have got an absolute steal."