Transfer guru Fabrizio Romano reported that Rangers are advancing in their negotiations with Jack Butland via his Twitter this morning. He claims the deal is getting closer and, as part of this, Manchester United are now looking to sign a new back-up goalkeeper for next season.
The 30-year-old English goalkeeper has found game time tough to come by recently and that is thought to be part of his decision making process. He was rumoured to have been offered a ‘huge pay-day’ to remain a back-up at Manchester United but is opting for a move to Rangers instead with the hopes of revitalising his career.
At only 30, he’s still young for a goalkeeper and will be hoping that his form at Ibrox may lead to him getting back involved with the England set-up. He previously has nine caps at International level, which considering the competition amongst English goalkeepers, shows how highly rated he was. There is plenty of time for him to recapture the form that gained his International recognition and first team football at Rangers is a step in the right direction for his career.
The 6’5 goalkeeper offers a much different frame to the previous Rangers number one in Allan McGregor who stands at around 6’0. This gives Butland an advantage when coming for crosses, which is one thing fans complained about when it came to McGregor, having a goalkeeper that comes for crosses takes some pressure off of the defenders and usually leads to conceding less from crossed balls. He’s incredibly confident when coming out for the ball, probably due to his massive stature, and this is a huge benefit in the SPFL as many teams play the crossing game with a big target man up top.
He also commands his box really well and isn’t afraid to come out and sweep, which is one thing fans have been praising Robby McCrorie for recently, and his communication with his defence is excellent. When Angela Smith of BBC Stoke spoke to Derek Clark at the Rangers Review she spoke very highly of his communication and command of his area, which is encouraging to hear from someone who watched him play so often.
His last stint of EPL appearances was for Crystal Palace in the 21/22 when he played in 9 matches, matching to save the one penalty he faced and keep one clean sheet. He saved 57% of shots faced in a struggling Crystal Palace side but there’s only so much a goalkeeper can do to prevent the goals at times.
His distribution is something which has been very under rated in his career and in those appearances for Crystal Palace he had 91% pass accuracy within his own half, he’s comfortable and assured with the ball at his feet, something a Rangers goalkeeper needs to be. Having him on the ball will be a far cry from watching McGregor sclaff the ball out of play and turning over possession time and time again.
Rangers demand two things from a goalkeeper;
- The ability to be comfortable on the ball.
- A willingness to come off of their line for crosses/through balls.
Butland provides both of the above and the fact that Rangers are getting him in on a free transfer is excellent business, albeit his wages will be one of the highest at the club. International goalkeepers with EPL experience don’t come around often, especially for free and at only 30-years-old, Rangers should consider this signings a coup.
His former manager, Lee Clark, who gave him his debut at Birmingham had this to say about him in an interview he done with the Daily Record;
‘Jack is a quality goalkeeper and if he gets a move to Rangers it will be brilliant for both him and the club
We didn’t want to sell him at Birmingham but our financial situation meant we had to. I really did rate him that highly. He had the physique, the athleticism, great technique, a strong mentality, everything you want from a keeper at a very early age.’Daily Record
Very high praise indeed. He still has all of those attributes he just needs some game time to sharpen those skills up again and get to his best. The fact that he is prioritising first team football over the money is another huge bonus in this deal for Michael Beale and Rangers. It shows that he is still hungry and has passion for the game. It shows he wants to prove to everyone out there that he still has what it takes to get back to the levels he was at previously. There’s no doubt he’s agreeing to this move with getting back into the England team in his mind, if he reaches the performance levels he’s capable of and helps Rangers domestically and in Europe, then it could be a possibility.
Previously one of the most highly rated young goalkeepers in Europe, Jack Butland needs a fresh start in his career and it looks set to be at Ibrox. Is he a signing which excites you? Do you think he’s of the correct calibre to be Rangers new number one?