Arsene Wenger has reportedly stepped up interest in recruiting a new goalkeeper in this transfer window. The Arsenal manager is believed to be keen on Birmingham City's teenage sensation Jack Butland.
Wenger remains a huge admirer of the Gunners' present No 1, Wojciech Szczesny, but is unsure of deputy stoppers Lukasz Fabianski and Vito Mannone and their ability to produce consistent displays. And, according to the Daily Star, Butland now leads the Frenchman's list of keeper targets.
The 19-year-old is on the radar of a host of Premier League clubs, with Fulham and Southampton favourites to make a move for the England international in this window, according to the Telegraph. In addition, Manchester United, Liverpool and Everton are all believed to be monitoring his situation as well.
The report claims Fulham, who are looking for a long-term replacement for veteran Mark Schwarzer, have already made an official enquiry regarding Butland's availability. Newly promoted Premier League side Southampton, who had a £6m bid rejected by Birmingham in the summer, have also been in talks with the Championship club of late and are expected to make another attempt to sign their man.
Butland, who was Team GB's No 1 at the London Olympics 2012, has started all 26 matches in the Championship for Birmingham this season. The youngster also made his senior England debut in a friendly against Italy last year.
Interest in Butland has strengthened after admissions from Birmingham City's acting chairman, Peter Pannu, the St Andrew's club would be open to selling their goalkeeper to ease financial issues.
"I can't say that we are in a very wonderful situation, I would be lying if I said that. I do have a responsibility to keep the club running. My top priority now - and if I do offend anyone, I care not - is to make sure this club stays afloat," he was quoted as saying, while also confirming Liverpool had established contact over a transfer.
"Give me a £15m offer for Jack Butland, can I say no? I have rejected £6m from Southampton (in the summer) but I rejected it when our finances were okay. As the time is ticking, I might not be able to reject it if I get something similar," he added.