Stoke City news: 22-year-old defender linked with summer exit


After leading the club to safety last season in the Championship, Stoke City manager Michael O'Neill would have been hoping to take his side to new heights during the current campaign.

However, whilst the Potters are on course to finish in a higher position in the second-tier this year, a push for a play-off place hasn't materialised due to a lack of consistency.

Set to face Bristol City on Friday, the Potters could leapfrog Millwall in the standings if they secure all three points at Ashton Gate.

Having helped Stoke keep a clean-sheet in their recent victory over Derby County, Harry Souttar is likely to feature against the Robins later this week.

After enjoying a fruitful loan spell at Fleetwood Town during the 2019/20 season in which he made 34 appearances for the club in League One, the Australian international has since emerged as a key player for Stoke.

Given just how consistent Souttar has been in recent months in the second-tier, it is hardly a surprise that he is attracting the attention of a host of Premier League sides ahead of the summer transfer window.

According to the Daily Express, the 22-year-old is thought to be the subject of considerable interest from West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers.

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The news that Souttar is being monitored by several top-flight sides will be a concern for Stoke as they will not want to see him leave the club this summer.

During the 32 league appearances that he has made this season, the defender has averaged a WhoScored match rating of 7.17 which is the joint-highest total recorded by a Potters player.

Souttar also leads the way when in the aerial duels category as he has won 5.3 per game whilst he ranks in the top-five for interceptions (1.4) and clearances (5.4).

Although Stoke could spark a bidding war for the defender if they were open to the possibility of selling him, there is no guarantee that they will be able to draft in a suitable replacement.

Therefore, O'Neill ought to consider building a squad around Souttar which in turn will give the Potters the best chance of achieving their goal of making a return to the Premier League in the not too distant future.

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