Forget Butland – Stoke need not worry about the Englishman’s departure if they sign this talented 23-year-old

Stoke City opinion: Should the Potters make a move for Christian Walton?

The Stoke Sentinel have reported that Stoke City believe that Christian Walton is the best man to replace Jack Butland. 23 years old, Walton is currently contracted to Brighton and Hove Alvion, but has been on multiple loan spells over the last five years.

This includes spells at Luton Town, Plymouth, Southend United and multiple spells at Wigan Athletic. It’s his spell with the Latics that has Stoke City manager Nathan Jones believing that the young goalkeeper is his man.

Over two separate loan spells last season, Christian Walton kept an impressive 19 clean sheets in League One, helping Wigan to the title. This saw the club get promoted and they immediately re-signed the young goalkeeper.

This season, Walton has struggled with form and injuries but despite that, he’s got on with it. It’s this mentality which should make him a great replacement for Jack Butland in the upcoming transfer window.

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The 26-year-old has been heavily linked with a move back to the Premier League. Reports have linked Bournemouth (Sky Sports), Crystal Palace (Sun) and even Arsenal (Express) with a move.

Losing out on him would heavily affect Stoke City, as it would leave them without a reliable goalkeeper, which Butland has been this season.

Barring the 26-year-old, the Potters have got Adam Federici and Jakob Haugaard but both have struggled to make an impact. Not to mention, Federici is on the wrong side of 30.

Christian Walton, on the other hand, has just started his career and he needs regular football to keep moving forward.  That’s not something he’s managed to get at Brighton, with just four senior appearances to his name.

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It’s time for the 23-year-old to move on. Given his size, combined with his agility and reflexes, make him a like-for-like replacement for Butland. At 6 feet and 4 inches, Walton has honed his skills at the lower tiers of English football, which has helped him grow at an exponential rate.

His shot-stopping skills were on show last season, with an impressive 19 clean-sheets.

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Stoke City need to start preparing for a future without Jack Butland. The 25-year-old is far too talented to be playing in the Championship and deserves a move back into the top flight. While it will be a big blow, bringing in Christian Walton will help soften the punch.