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Jordan Pickford is undoubtedly the best young English goalkeeping prospect at the moment.
The 23-year-old is set to be an Everton player before the start of the season.
Pickford, who is on duty with England Under-21s before the European Championship, is expected to have a medical and complete the formalities of the deal, which could cost up to £30million according to the BBC, when he returns.
He will become the most expensive British ‘keeper if he completes the move and the third most expensive ever, behind Gianluigi Buffon and Ederson.
In fact, if the add-ons go through, he’ll treble the previous highest fee paid for a British goalie, which was £10million to take Fraser Forster from Celtic to Southampton.
Is £30million a fair price?
The BBC price seems to be quoted in most media outlets reporting the deal and of course it seems a lot of money for someone from a club that’s just been relegated.
Pickford made 29 Premier League appearances last season for Sunderland but could not prevent the Black Cats from going down, conceding 50 goals and keeping just four clean sheets.
That doesn’t make great reading, but you have to take into account that David Moyes’ side were simply dreadful.
They weren’t on Aston Villa or Derby County levels of bad, but there was no chance of them staying up at any point in the season really, and that had nothing to do with Pickford whatsoever.
In fact no other Premier League goalkeeper made more saves than his 110 – next was Watford’s Heurelho Gomes, who played nine more games and made 105.
If it wasn’t for Pickford, Sunderland probably would have gone done a lot earlier and his good form saw him nominated as one of six players on the PFA Young Player of the Year award shortlist.
In his first full season in the Premier League – he had played in just two top flight games before – he was one of only a few bright lights in a dire season at the Stadium of Light.
Jermain Defoe, probably the main other positive for Sunderland last season, has hailed him.
“Jordan has been amazing and he has great potential,” he said back in February.
“I have been singing his praises since the first time I saw him.
“I’ve spoken about the modern game and how teams want goalkeepers to play out from the back and he is up there at being able to do that.
“He's is one of the best goalkeepers I have seen in my career.”
That’s high praise indeed considering at 34, Defoe will have played with his fair share of goalkeepers.
But that doesn’t stop £30million being a high price for a player who hasn’t even been capped, especially a ‘keeper, considering they usually go relatively cheap.
Considering the importance of having a good one in your side, only nine goalkeepers (not including Pickford) have ever gone for £10million or more, which seems crazy.
But clubs will want the best goalkeepers and like the rest of the transfer market, their fees will become inflated.
Bright future for English goalkeepers?
There does always seem to be more money added on for English players, but there’s been a dirge of top-class goalkeepers, with Joe Hart being England’s No.1 but nothing particularly special – it’s no real surprise no top clubs seem to want him any more.
And Jack Butland reckons it’s good news for English goalkeepers, especially given Freddie Woodman’s match-winning performance against Venezuela in the Under-20 World Cup Final.
“It’s £18m and add-ons isn’t it? For years we've had keepers criticised in England, but we've got plenty coming through,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“Freddie has just won the Under-20 World Cup, the other Under-20 ‘keepers Angus Gunn and Jonny Mitchell too.”
“There always has been a lot of talent, the key thing for them is getting games. Jordan now has that with Everton, Angus is on loan at Norwich City and what Freddie does next season is important for him.”
How does he compare to Everton’s goalkeepers?
We’ve had a look at Pickford compared to Everton’s goalkeeping options for last season, Maarten Stekelenburg and Joel Robles.
In terms of clean sheets, Robles comes out on top with ten – the other two both made four, but of course you have to take into account the poor Sunderland team the England under-21 international was playing in.
And that also means he conceded the most goals per game on average last season – 1.76.
But perhaps the most telling stat, saves per goal, sees Pickford come on on top.
In the Premier League, he made 2.2 saves per goal conceded, while Robles made 2.15 and Stekelenburg just 1.57.
He also made the most saves per game: 3.79, which was way above the Everton duo.
His claim success of 97 per cent is impressive, but his distribution accuracy of 50 per cent will probably need a bit of work, although again he could perhaps claim that is because he was playing in a poor team.
When Buffon went for £33million back in 2001, the fee seemed excessive, but in hindsight it now looks a bargain.
If Pickford can live up to his potential and help Everton to bigger and brighter things, his fee may not look quite as expensive as it does now.
And if the fee is £18million plus add-ons, as Butland says, should Pickford’s performances make it up to £30million, he would probably have earned that price tag.