Birmingham City goalkeeper Jack Butland has reportedly turned down the chance to speak to Chelsea regarding a January move to Stamford Bridge, after both clubs agreed on a fee for the young English goalkeeper.
The west London outfit were granted permission to enter into negotiations with the 19-year-old but the player has now rejected the transfer due to the unlikelihood of finding regular first-team football with Rafael Benitez's side, according to the BBC.
Butland has been on the radar of a host of Premier League clubs since the summer and was strongly linked with a move to either Liverpool or Arsenal in January. However, the player's agent Gary Mellor has now confirmed the Blues are the only club to have tabled a bid and their offer was accepted.
"Chelsea have been given permission to speak to Jack. At this moment they are the only club who have registered a bid," Mellor told The Sun.
Southampton had a £6m bid for Butland rejected by the Championship outfit in the summer. However, financial problems have now forced Birmingham to place their entire first-team on the transfer market, leaving acting chief executive Peter Pannu with little choice but to accept a cut-price offer from Chelsea, understood to be around £3.5m.
Butland, who was Team GB's No 1 at the London Olympics 2012, has started all 29 matches in the Championship for Birmingham this season. The stopper also made his senior England debut in a friendly against Italy last year and is touted to become a Three Lions' regular in the future.
If the youngster had decided to join Chelsea, he would have faced fierce competition from Thibaut Courtois in his attempt to be a long-term successor to Blues veteran Petr Cech. The Belgian is currently out on loan at Atletico Madrid but will return to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
Cech Out of Reading Match
Chelsea will be without Cech for their midweek trip to Reading. The Czech Republic international is set to miss the clash as he failed to recover from a calf injury that also ruled him out for the weekend's 2-2 draw with Brentford in the FA Cup. The 30-year-old's absence means deputy Ross Turnbull will continue between the posts for Benitez's side.
Meanwhile, a calf issue has prevented defender David Luiz from being part of the travelling squad as well. Eden Hazard will also sit out and serve the second of his minimum three-match ban.
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