With January and the transfer window less than a week away, most had assumed Liverpool's business had been all but sorted already and that it would begin and end with Daniel Sturridge and Tom Ince. However, thanks to Bimrngham City chairman Peter Pannu's wide-ranging interview with the Birmingham Mail today detailing the club's financial struggles, we now know Liverpool are also chasing goalkeeper Jack Butland.
"If I allow this club to go into administration, I think I will never [be able to] step foot in Birmingham city," said Pannu of the situation he finds himself in. "And I am not going to allow that to happen. If I do annoy the fans and I do dispose of players, it will be to keep the club afloat. That’s not an excuse for me to dispose of players, I just [have] to do what I have to do."
Birmingham today find themselves on the verge of bankruptcy following demotion from the Premier League along with other financial troubles for Birmingham International Holdings, the club's parent company.
Meanwhile, owner Carson Yeung has had his assets frozen while he faces money laundering charges in Hong Kong. As such, it's little surprise to find the club's chairman preparing fans for a mass exodus of players in January in an effort to stave off an even worse fate.
"Let's use Butland as an example," he continued. "I understand there are talks with Liverpool, I understand that Everton might be interested, Southampton gave me an offer in the past [though] I know not whether they [still] want him. [He] is a phenomenal player [so] let's move [at] this from another angle.
"For example, if Liverpool come in for Butland, do you not think Butland wouldn't want to go there? Even if Liverpool came to me with £4 million, I'm sure if his agent is doing a proper job he will blow my door down and say he wants the Liverpool opportunity."
It's a terrible situation Birmingham, Pannu, and the club's fans find themselves in, but with Liverpool speculated to be interested in Butland even before the severity of the Championship club's woes became clear, it's hardly a surprise to have it confirmed they are after him now given the possibility for a bargain.
"What I can say is that—and I might be blasted for this by the fans—but no one is for sale and everyone is available. As in any club. I have rejected £6 million 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."
Butland represented Great Britain at the Olympics this year and later made his senior England debut in a friendly against Italy. He is considered the best English goalkeeping prospect since Joe Hart and at only 19 years of age is likely already the second best stopper currently available to Roy Hodgson and the national team.