Premier League: Liverpool may raid Championship

Jack Butland will be hard to keep hold of for Birmingham
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Christian Crowther has a look at three Championship stars who may have the Premier League sharks circling in January...

"At just 19, the highly rated Birmingham keeper has already made his full England début and played in goal for Great Britain."

With the Championship season ready to resume in all its unpredictable glory, there are a few players who have already caught the attentions of the Premier League scouts.

January is an unnerving time for nearly all managers who possess precocious talent in their squads and this year promises to be no different. These are three of the hottest would-be movers from the second tier of English football.

Jack Butland
At just 19, the highly rated Birmingham keeper has already made his full England debut and played in goal for Great Britain at London 2012. Naturally this meteoric rise has attracted attention from the top flight's big boys and Liverpool and Tottenham were among those reported to have paid particular interest in the summer. With Pepe Reina surely in the autumn of his career at Anfield and given Brendan Rodger's proclivity for young talent, Butland could provide a perfect replacement for the Spaniard. Liverpool are [1.37] to claim their first Anfield league win against Reading on Saturday.

Wilfried Zaha
Both Wigan and Bolton tabled bids for Crystal Palace's prodigious 19-year-old winger in the summer but Dougie Freedman quickly moved to deter any suitors. Now the Palace manager has claimed that he is worth more than £11 million in an attempt to try and hold on to the player. However, this sort of money is hardly likely to put off clubs such as Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester City. With Theo Walcott's contract at Arsenal - who are [1.57] to beat Norwich on Saturday - running down, Zaha could prove the perfect replacement at the Emirates.

Tom Ince
The skilful Blackpool winger is out of contract at the end of the season and Sir Alex Ferguson was reportedly at Bloomfield Road to scout him personally against Charlton last week. Ian Holloway is desperate to keep hold of the 20-year-old as his Tangerines side try and push for promotion but he will have his work cut out if Sir Alex has made up his mind already. Holloway's side are [2.56] to bounce back from their Charlton disappointment by beating Burnley at the weekend.

Would you like any of these at your club? Are there any other players ready to make the step up from the Championship? Share your thoughts below...

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