If there is one major signing that Real Madrid do appear well placed to get over the line this summer, it is that of Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. With Neymar and Kylian Mbappé out of contention for a move to Los Blancos, and a deal for Eden Hazard appearing far from straightforward, Madridistas can at least be confident that Courtois will be prised from Stamford Bridge.
Courtois must be replaced before leaving Chelsea
But before the Belgium custodian can leave, Chelsea are insistent that a replacement must be found. In recent days, AS has brought you details of the keepers in the Premier League club's sights, all of whom are England-based. The preferred option appears to be Leicester City and Denmark's Kasper Schmeichel; however, the Foxes look to have no intention of letting the 31-year-old depart.
Stoke keeper Butland emerges as Chelsea target
And amid the potential alternatives to Schmeichel - who include Chelsea legend Petr Cech and AC Milan's Gianluigi Donnarumma - Stoke City's Jack Butland has now emerged as a candidate to fill the void left by Courtois, with reports in the UK media claiming the Blues are eyeing the England international, who seems unlikely to stay at Stoke in the wake of their relegation from the Premier League last term.
According to Sky Sports, Stoke would seek a fee of around 30 million pounds (33.6 million euros) for Butland, who is said to have his heart set on a move to a top-six club and is set to sort his future out once he returns from holiday this week. The 25-year-old could well hold the key to Courtois' switch to Spain...