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Birmingham are under pressure to sell players due to administration looming, and Jamie Dickenson is backing Chelsea to swoop and sign one of their starlets

With just days to go until the so far disappointingly quiet January transfer window shuts, one man that could be set for a move is England international goalkeeper Jack Butland.

The Birmingham player is one of the most valuable assets the club own, and with the threat of administration edging closer, acting chairman Peter Pannu has admitted Blues might be forced into a cut-price sale.

Butland is just 19-years-old but already has nearly two seasons of professional experience under his belt, and made his senior England debut during the friendly victory over Italy in August.

Butland also kept goal for Team GB during the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The Bristol-born goalkeeper spent last campaign on loan at Cheltenham before returning to Birmingham for this season, and has earned his struggling side four clean sheets in the Championship.

Liverpool are the 2/1 (3.0) favourites with Paddy Power to become Butland's next permanent club, but despite Brendan Rodgers' interest in the Englishman as a long-term replacement for Pepe Reina, the Reds have been quiet in recent weeks.

Yesterday reports indicated that Chelsea could be the club to swoop in on Liverpool's hesitation and utilise Birmingham's need to sell with a £3 million bid.

Suggestions that Rafa Benitez's side could loan Butland back to Birmingham would no doubt help engineer any possible transfer, but the Stamford Bridge club already have first-teamer Petr Cech and exciting young goalie Thibaut Courtois impressing on loan at Atletico Madrid.

Jack Butland's Next Permanent Club

Odds from Paddy Power
Liverpool 2/1
Chelsea 5/2
Arsenal 10/1
Fulham 11/2
Manchester City 11/1
Everton 11/1
The fact the Birmingham keeper has insisted he will not switch clubs to play second fiddle might block the path to Chelsea, but if they were willing to loan him back to St Andrew's odds of 5/2 (3.50) would seem a bargain.

Arsenal are the next side in the pecking order at 10/1 (11.0), but a more likely destination would appear to be Fulham at 11/1 (12.0).

Martin Jol is said to have been preparing a £6 million package at the beginning of this month, and may come back in for Butland with Birmingham lower that price by around half.

Veteran keeper Mark Schwarzer is showing his age for the Cottagers, and a young custodian like Butland could be exactly be exactly what his side need.

Manchester City are also valued at 11/1 (12.0) but are well-stocked in that department with number one Joe Hart and back-up in the form of Costel Pantilimon and Richard Wright.

Butland is in direct competition with Hart for the England jersey, and although City could tempt the youngster with a significant salary, he is unlikely a favour a move to Eastlands.

Everton are also 11/1 (12.0), while both Newcastle and Southampton are 16/1 (17.0) bets.

Other Premier League outfits like Manchester United, Sunderland, Aston Villa, Reading and Tottenham are credited with an interest in Butland, but have yet to express any formal desire to sign the player.

With Chelsea's reported interest in Butland growing stronger, it would seem that their odds of 5/2 (3.50) to become the next permanent club of the Bristolian are worth taking.

BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
Jack Butland's next permanent club to be Chelsea at 5/2 (3.50) with Paddy Power

Jamie Dickenson is a 22-year-old freelance journalist who specialises in football, sports and betting.


More of his work can be found here
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