Butland rejects Chelsea move

By Greg Stobart

Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland is set to reject a £3 million move to Chelsea as he fears the transfer would jeopardise his long-term prospects of playing regular Premier League football.

Chelsea tried to beat Liverpool and Fulham in the race for the England Under-21 star by agreeing a deal with the cash-strapped Championship club on Tuesday for a player who was the subject of a £6m bid from Southampton last summer.

Butland, however, has indicated that he does not believe his career would be best served by moving to Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea already have Petr Cech and highly rated Thibaut Courtois, who will return from a successful loan spell at Atletico Madrid at the end of the season.

Butland has made just 29 appearances for Birmingham and the 19-year-old believes he needs to be playing regularly in either the Premier League or the Championship in order to develop as a player.

Fulham are in the market for a long-term replacement for 40-year-old Mark Schwarzer, who is out of contract in the summer, while Liverpool have targeted Butland as a first choice to succeed Pepe Reina, whose departure from Anfield looks increasingly likely.

Butland is almost certain to leave Birmingham before the transfer window closes on Thursday night as acting chairman Peter Pannu attempts to stave off the threat of administration.

The Midlands club are seeking a straight cash deal for Butland and instructed an agency earlier this month to broker his departure from St Andrew’s.

Butland, who has represented England at all age-group levels, came to prominence while on loan at Cheltenham Town last season before being 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.

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