Aston Villa poised to bid for England goalkeeper Jack Butland
Villa are poised to launch a big money bid for Stoke City goalkeeper Jack Butland.
The Potters have slapped a £23million price tag on the England international, who is keen on a return to the Premier League.
Villa, promoted last month through the play-offs, are ready to test their resolve with an offer of around £20million.
Boss Dean Smith’s preparations for a top flight return include bringing in a new goalkeeper and Butland, No.2 behind Jordan Pickford in the international set-up, fits the bill.
The 26-year-old, who has also been tracked by Bournemouth and Crystal Palace, has acknowledged he needs to be playing in the Premier League to further his England ambitions.
He said last month: “I always have and I always will give everything for Stoke City, but I need to be in the Premier League.
“I’ve tried to help the club back there but I know where I need to be to be in this (England) squad.
“If something arises that is the right thing for me I have to seriously consider it.
“It’s a short career and I can quickly find myself out of this squad I’m not careful.”
Villa also have an interest in Cardiff City shot-stopper Neil Etheridge, who played under Smith at Walsall.
Goalkeeper proved a problem position for Villa last season before Jed Steer established himself as No.1 during the final months of the campaign.
Steer, a hero of the promotion charge, has signed a one-year extension and will be given the chance to battle for the jersey.
There are questions, however, over the ability of January signing Lovre Kalinic to make the grade.
Kalinic, who joined in a £7million deal from Gent, struggled in eight appearances before losing his place to Steer. Norwegian international Orjan Nyland, a £1million signing last summer, also remains on the club’s books.