Crystal Palace eye 6 foot 6 Championship defender

Stoke defender Harry Souttar tracking Todd Cantwell

Crystal Palace are monitoring Stoke City defender Harry Souttar ahead of the summer transfer window, according to The Express.

What is the latest transfer news involving Souttar?

The Australian international has attracted interest from a number of Premier League sides, including West Ham and Wolves.

Palace are also tracking the defender, who has impressed in the Championship this year.

How much is Souttar worth and when does his contract expire?

Transfermarkt value Souttar at £3.6m but having only signed a new contract last month, Stoke are in a good position to command a considerably bigger transfer fee.

Spurs signed another Championship defender in Joe Rodon last summer for £10.89m and that deal could be something of a benchmark.

What are Souttar's stats this season?

Souttar has been a consistently strong performer this term. As per WhoScored, he has received an average game rating of 7.17 in the second tier - no Stoke player has earned a higher mark.

His score also sees him above Palace's highest rated player, Wilfried Zaha (6.90).

Standing at 6 foot 6, Souttar is a colossal presence at the back. He has won 5.3 aerial duels per game in the league this year.

This number puts him some way clear of Palace's best defender in this category - Gary Cahill has won 3.8 aerial duels per match.

What has Michael O'Neill said about Souttar?

After spending last season on loan at Fleetwood, Souttar has returned to Stoke and made a positive impact this year.

The club's manager Michael O'Neill has been pleased with the defender's development.

Speaking to Stoke on Trent Live in November, O'Neill said of Souttar: "He’s a player blessed with great natural attributes. Obviously his height but also he’s got good game intelligence and he’s a great user of the ball as well.

"That’s something which I think will set him apart from the other defenders in this league."

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Who is this former Palace player?

Could Souttar's arrival lead to Kouyate returning to midfield?

Prior this season, Cheikhou Kouyate had only played at centre-back on five occasions for the Eagles.

In 2020/21, he has featured there in 26 matches. As per WhoScored, he has received an average match rating of 6.60 in the Premier League this year - his lowest mark in the top-flight since he came to England in 2014.

His role at the heart of Palace's defence has had the feel of placing a square peg in a round hole.

If Souttar arrives at Selhurst Park, this could allow Kouyate to move back into his more familiar role as a holding midfielder. Palace have conceded 47 goals in the league during the course of the campaign - only four teams have conceded more in the division.

With Kouyate back in midfield, he could offer more protection to the back four, which may include Souttar, and make Roy Hodgson's side a more difficult team to break down next year.

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