It is probably fair to say Eddie Howe has struggled to settle on a first-choice goalkeeper at Bournemouth this season.
The Cherries boss had been alternating between Asmir Begovic and Arthur Boruc before throwing Mark Travers into the equation towards the end of the Premier League campaign, with the 19-year-old impressing in his debut against Tottenham.
Next term, however, Howe could have an undisputed No.1, with the Daily Mail reporting earlier this month that Bournemouth are planning to make a move for Stoke City’s Jack Butland.
How, though, does the England international compare to the man he could be replacing, Begovic?
It has been a poor season for Butland and his Stoke team-mates in the Championship, while the 26-year-old has not always covered himself in glory after a poor start to the campaign.
Even so, Butland is still a top goalkeeper, who is too good to be playing in English football’s second tier.
The former Birmingham City man is a fantastic shot-stopper and is a No.1 who can marshal his defence well.
Had it not been for injuries, he probably would have been at a higher level right now.
But at 26, he can still get there to give Jordan Pickford a real challenge in Gareth Southgate’s England squad.
TT Grade: B-
Howe would not have imagined having to chop and change keeper after Bournemouth signed Begovic from Chelsea back in 2017.
However, after error after error, Howe has had to do just that, dropping Begovic for the 39-year-old Boruc.
Too often this season the Bosnia and Herzegovina international has flapped at crosses and made the sort of mistakes someone with his experience should not be making.
He has given Bournemouth’s opponents opportunities time and again and it has cost his side.
On his day, Begovic is still a very good goalkeeper. Unfortunately for Howe, though, he has not seen enough of those days this term.
TT Grade: C-
Begovic’s return to the Vitality Stadium has not worked out as planned, and now is a good time for Bournemouth to move on.
And they can do just that by replacing the former Chelsea man with his ex-teammate Butland.
The Stoke No.1 would represent a huge upgrade on Begovic; the Cherries would be silly to let this opportunity pass them by.
Bournemouth fans, who is the better shot-stopper, Butland or Begovic? Join the discussion by commenting below.
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