By Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent
Fulham have made England goalkeeping sensation Jack Butland their priority signing in January, Goal.comunderstands.
The west London club have made an informal approach for the 19-year-old and are preparing to follow it up with a bid.
Manager Martin Jol faces competition for Butland from Liverpool, who have asked to be kept informed of the keeper’s situation, and Southampton, who have also made an enquiry.
Fulham have identified Butland as an outstanding young talent who can succeed Mark Schwarzer, the club’s long-standing No.1 who turned 40 last October.
Acting Birmingham chairman Peter Pannu has admitted he is prepared to sell Butland, along with other key players, in January to prevent the Championship club from going into administration.
Birmingham rejected a £6 million offer from Southampton for Butland during the summer but will not stand in the way of a move this month, given the state of their finances.
Goal.com revealed last month that Liverpool had made a move for the teenager as doubts grow over the long-term Anfield future of Pepe Reina, who is a target for Arsenal.
In an interview at the end of last month, Pannu told the Birmingham Mail: “Let’s use Butland as an example. I understand there are talks with Liverpool, I understand that Everton might be interested, Southampton gave me an offer in the past, I know not whether they want him. His is a phenomenal player and let’s move this from another angle.
“For example, if Liverpool come in for Butland, do you not think Butland wouldn’t want to go there? Even if Liverpool came to me with £4 million, I’m sure if his agent is doing a proper job he will blow my door down and say he wants the Liverpool opportunity.”
Butland, who has represented England at all age-group levels, came to prominence while on loan at Cheltenham Town last season before being he was selected in the England squad for Euro 2012 following an injury to John Ruddy. He was the Great Britain No.1 at the Olympics and then made his senior England debut in the friendly against Italy.
Fulham are also in talks to sign Ghana international Derek Boateng from Dnipro but the midfielder is locked in a contractual wrangle with the Ukrainian club.
Boateng is believed to have undertaken a medical at Craven Cottage but the deal has been held up while Fulham’s lawyers investigate the legitimacy of his claim that his contract with Dnipro, who he joined in the summer of 2011, has been annulled.