Chelsea seemed to have won the race to sign highly rated goalkeeper Jack Butland as the long term replacement for current number one Petr Cech.
The fee of £3.5 million seemed like a good deal for Birmingham who are struggling financially but the deal is now under threat because Butland rejected the chance to discuss personal terms with the European Champions.
His motives for doing so seem to be quite clear; he doesn’t want to risk his development as a goalkeeper by moving to Stamford Bridge.
It’s understandable reasoning because he will want to be going to a side where he has a good chance of playing first team football regularly. After all, that’s the only way he’s going to learn.
“Jack's enjoying playing for Birmingham and he is gaining valuable experience. He will listen to what any club that meets Birmingham's asking price has to say, but playing is of paramount importance for Jack,” said his agent Gary Mellor.
He’s unlikely to get a better personal package than the one Chelsea put forward so it’s refreshing to see a 19-year-old putting his professional career before an enormous amount of money.
It’s also possible that he’s looked at the overall situation at Chelsea and has been put off because of the pressure attached to the club.
If Butland signs right now, he has no idea who he’s going to be playing for beyond the summer. It could be Rafa Benitez, it could be someone completely different.
It was meant to be Pep Guardiola until he decided that a move to Germany was a much better option for him.
Butland may also have looked at his reputation and how that could be damaged by an immediate move to Chelsea.
The few games that he would get at the club would likely come in cup competitions and when Cech needs a rest. If Butland makes a mistake in any of those games, it puts him two steps backwards as he tries to move forward.
There are plenty of other clubs who could offer him Premier League football who have been linked with moves; Everton, Liverpool, Fulham and Newcastle United.
Manchester City have also voiced their interest in the past but Butland seemingly has no chance of ousting Joe Hart from the number one slot at Eastlands which makes that move unlikely.
So what next for Butland? Do you still think he’ll sign for Chelsea?
image: © joncandy