The England international has been targeted by the Anfield giants and Martin Jol's Fulham, but the Championship club's valuation is proving a stumbling block
By Ed Aarons
Jack Butland’s agent fears the Birmingham goalkeeper could be priced out of a dream move to the Premier League, with Fulham and Liverpool still weighing up formal bids, Goal.com can reveal.
Southampton had a £6 million offer for the 19-year-old turned down last summer but Birmingham boss Lee Clark admitted on Wednesday that the cash-strapped club have yet to receive an official approach since then.
Acting chairman Peter Pannu has put the whole squad up for sale as he attempts to stop the Championship club from sliding into administration.
But with only a week left of the January transfer window, Butland’s agent Gary Mellor hopes they may lower the current asking price, now believed to be in the region of £5m.
“There’s a lot of clubs interested but no one yet has matched Birmingham’s valuation,” he told Goal.com.
“I think it depends on who else they could sell really because if they are looking to solve all their financial woes with the Jack deal then it’s going to be more difficult. But if they can sell someone else as well then maybe a number of clubs would be interested and that might make a difference.
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“I don’t really know what they want at the moment – they turned down £6m from Southampton but they will probably accept less now because obviously it’s getting towards the end of the window and they need to get money in.
“There’s nothing yet but we’re trying to get something through before the end of the window. I am ringing around and we’ll get something done.”
As revealed by Goal.com earlier this month, Fulham have made Butland their priority signing this month but now face fierce competition from Liverpool after Pepe Reina was linked with a return to Barcelona.
Everton and Southampton have also asked Birmingham to be kept informed about his situation but it remains to be seen whether new Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino may pursue his own targets.
Butland made his England debut against Italy last year and has since been a regular in Roy Hodgson’s Three Lions squads. Birmingham boss Clark remains hopeful that he will stay at St Andrew’s but also accepts their financial problems will dictate their decision.
“Whether we will keep him, I honestly don’t know,” he said. “The only official bid the club have had in terms of a written bid or a verbal bid is the one that was turned down in the summer from Southampton just as I was taking the job.
"That’s not to say we haven’t had lots of interest in Jack and people asking the question. But in terms of somebody actually putting down that they want to take him and what they’re willing to pay, that hasn’t materialised.
“With my football manager’s head on I don’t want that to happen but on the other side of my football manager’s head, in terms of the future of the club it’s been talked about already by the chairman that it probably needs to happen.”