• Premier League

Birmingham confirm Liverpool are in talks with Butland

ESPN staff
December 28, 2012
Jack Butland looks set to leave Birmingham in January © PA Photos

Liverpool have opened talks to sign England goalkeeper Jack Butland, Birmingham acting chairman Peter Pannu has confirmed.

Pannu has admitted that he is prepared to sell Butland, along with other key players, in January to stop the Championship club from going into administration.

Birmingham have hit financial trouble because of debts incurred by parent company Birmingham International Holdings Limited, as well as loss of revenue caused by relegation from the Premier League in 2011 and the fact that owner Carson Yeung has had assets frozen as he prepares to face money laundering charges in Hong Kong.

Butland, 19, has become one of the club's most valuable assets, playing from Great Britain at last summer's Olympic football tournament and making his England debut in a friendly against Italy in Berne in August.

He only made his Birmingham debut on the opening day of the Championship season against Charlton, but has firmly established himself as the club's first-choice keeper.

Southampton and Everton both expressed an interest in signing him in August, but although Pannu rejected those approaches, he has admitted that he will find it much harder to fend off Liverpool when the transfer window opens.

"Let's use Butland as an example," Pannu told the Birmingham Mail. "I understand there are talks with Liverpool, I understand that Everton might be interested, Southampton gave me an offer in the past, I know not whether they want him. His is a phenomenal player and let's move 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."

Pannu insisted that any money brought in from sales would go towards keeping Birmingham afloat.

"If I allow this club to go into administration, I think I will never [be able to] step foot in Birmingham [again]. Never. And I am not going to allow that to happen," he added. "If I do annoy the fans and I do dispose of players, it will be to keep the club afloat.

"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. Give me a £15 million offer for Jack Butland, can I say no?

"I have rejected £6 million from Southampton [in the summer] but I rejected it when our finances were OK. As the time is ticking, I might not be able to reject it if I get something similar."

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