With the dust having settled from what was an incredibly underwhelming season at Stoke City, boss Nathan Jones will be hoping for much better in the upcoming campaign.
Yet despite it being glaringly obvious that the 46-year-old needs to bring in several new additions in order to have the best chance of competing in the Championship, he may first have to deal with the possible departure of one of the Potters’ most influential players.
According to The Sun, Jack Butland is reportedly a key target for Aston Villa who are looking to strengthen their goalkeeping options ahead of their imminent return to the Premier League.
If this is indeed true, it is imperative that Stoke do not buckle in their negotiations with Dean Smith’s side as if they do, they may end up losing their star for a fee which doesn’t reflect the England international’s undoubted talent.
Keeping this in mind, here are three reasons why we think the Potters should drive a hard bargain this summer…
A huge fee could allow the club to bring in some real quality
Whereas it would be naive to suggest that Butland is irreplaceable, losing him would be a big blow for Stoke if they cannot afford to bring in a sufficient replacement for him between now and August.
Therefore, to avoid this particular scenario, the Potters should try and secure as big of a fee as they possibly can for the 26-year-old as it will allow them to re-invest not only in his position but also in other positions which need drastic improvements ahead of next season.
Underselling would create a worrying reputation
With the Championship proving to be a very unforgiving league at times, Stoke must not fall into the trap of underselling Butland as by doing that, they could be setting themselves up for disaster over the coming years.
By earning the reputation of being a club who are willing to let their biggest assets leave on the cheap, the Potters may not be taken seriously in future transfer negotiations by other sides which could, in turn, cause the quality of their recruitment to deteriorate.
Butland’s pedigree warrants a huge cash influx
Having somehow kept Butland at the club last summer following their relegation from the Premier League, Stoke should have no complaints if he expresses a desire to move on to pastures new over the coming weeks.
However, considering the shot-stopper’s excellent pedigree, there is no reason why he doesn’t warrant a huge influx of clash as at the right club, he could thrive at the top level.
With only Dean Henderson and Darren Randolph bettering his total of 18 clean sheets in the Championship during the 2018/19 campaign, Stoke should be pushing for a similar fee to what Sunderland received (£25m, as per the Independent) for Jordan Pickford in 2017 from Everton.