The London Olympics has given us plenty of reasons to cheer for.
Watching Oscar Pistorius compete was every bit refreshing as it was to watch American Michael Phelps break the record for medals tally in Olympics history.
Usain Bolt retaining his Olympic crown and Lee Chong Wei’s heart-wrenching defeat at the hands of China’s Lin ‘Super’ Dan also put us through varied emotions.
Amongst others was the joy of watching the young stars of world football compete for their respective countries.
There is no feeling in the world quite like watching youngsters grow and turn into the stars of tomorrow, as it very often also leads to us enjoying the few “I knew it” moments.
The 19-year-old goalkeeper who started all of Team GB’s competitive fixtures has attracted quite the attention from several Premier League clubs.
What makes this record so special is that Butland has yet to feature in a single competitive fixture for Birmingham, having previously just played in the fourth tier of English Football—on loan—for Cheltenham Town.
Newly-promoted Southampton have already had their £6 million bid rejected by the Midlands club who are believed to be under no pressure to let go of their starlet until an extremely handsome figure comes along.
Liverpool’s previous efforts at trying to find a suitable understudy for Pepe Reina have all resulted in disappointments.
So, here are five reasons to prove why indeed, if purchased, that Butland could turn out to be a great signing for Liverpool FC.
Goalkeepers generally have a longer playing career than the outfield players.
It is down to the fact that most goalkeepers aren’t expected to be ready for the big stage before they are in their mid to late twenties.
However, there have been instances of prodigal talents getting their breaks much earlier. Manchester United’s David De Gea is an example.
Now, De Gea has far more experience on his side than Butland considering his exposure playing in the top-tier of football in Spain as well as England.
Butland, at 19, has a long way to go before realizing his true potential. But carrying on that task as an understudy to Pepe Reina will be quite the deal.
Jack Butland as Liverpool’s No. 2 will learn a lot more than at Birmingham. Besides, the kind of manager that Brendan Rodgers is, he can expect to feature in a handful of top-flight games too if he manages to keep up the work rate during training.
Liverpool’s current back-up options haven’t really impressed with what very little playing time they have received.
Doni—signed from AS Roma last summer—made four Premier League appearances including a sending off in only his second game. Brad Jones too struggled for form when he replaced the Brazilian during his absence.
Doni and Jones also don’t represent the long term futures of the club with both players in their thirties.
It will be better for both parties concerned if an amicable solution is reached regarding their futures as soon as possible, preferably resulting in them getting shipped out to places where there are more first-team chances coming their way.
Joe Hart of Manchester City has been England’s first choice goalkeeper for some time now.
With Scott Carson out of the picture and Rob Green unlikely to return to the international scene following the gaffe at the 2010 World Cup, there is no one to challenge Hart for his position in the national set up anytime soon.
But that could change with Butland, as he is showing signs of potential similar to Hart in his younger days.
However, for that to materialise, Butland must begin now with a top level club and there is no better place to further his skills than at Liverpool.
And Liverpool stands to gain a lot by signing a player who has the potential to be a major player in the national team set up a few years down the line.
Liverpool have an able-bodied youngster in 22-year old Peter Gulacsi waiting for a chance to break into the first team.
So, does that make pursuing the signature of Jack Butland a pointless ordeal?
Purchasing a rising star in Butland is never a bad bit of business. It only adds depth to the talent pool that is available for the manager to choose from.
This begs the question: is he better than Gulacsi?
Well, similar to Butland, Gulacsi has been involved in a handful of loan spells with different clubs.
But, unlike him, Gulacsi has served those spells with higher league clubs with the most notable being the stint with Championship side Hull City for a limited period during last season.
But, unlike Gulacsi, Butland has had opportunities to work with the men’s national team set-up both during the Euros as well as at the Olympics, which definitely provides the youngster from Birmingham an advantage.
So, unless we see them at the biggest stage we can’t know their talents and limits for sure.
Buying youngsters like Butland proves that a club is showing real ambition by having the faith and courage to invest in youth.
When the club is confident in its investments, it leads to harmony in the squad and soon only better results can follow.
Liverpool had already begun showing ambition when—during the Kenny Dalglish era—they splashed the cash to acquire an up-and-coming youngster from Newcastle United in Andy Carroll.
Although, the way the business was conducted has been criticized ever since—partly due to the inflated fee and partly due to the player’s failure to reproduce the kind of form that made him such an attraction—Liverpool have not rid themselves off of that tradition, as is evident from the successful capture of Fabio Borini from AS Roma by new manager Brendan Rodgers.
This time around, they are sensible with their handling of transfer fees and the case of Jack Butland shouldn’t be any different.
Birmingham showed that they aren’t ready to let go of their star just yet when they turned down Southampton’s approach.