After a strong start to the season, Stoke City’s push for Championship promotion has hit something of a buffer in the past few weeks.
A run of three straight defeats in the league has now seen the Potters drop out of the play-off places, putting pressure on Michael O’Neill to turn things around.
But if, Stoke are unable to rectify things quickly, they may be forced to do business in the January transfer window to try and put together a squad that can compete for promotion.
However, it is unlikely Stoke’s business in January will be restricted to incomings, with speculation likely to be rife around the future of some of the best players in the club’s current squad, as other teams look to boost their own playing options.
So with that in mind, we’ve taken a look at two Stoke players who could be the subject of some significant transfer interest once the window reopens at the turn of the year.
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One Stoke player who it seems is already attracting plenty of attention from the Premier League ahead of the January window, is Harry Souttar.
The towering centre back has played a key role in Stoke’s strong start to the season, something that has seen him linked with the likes of Everton, Brighton, Aston Villa and Tottenham in the past few weeks.
Indeed, recent reports have claimed that Everton are willing to offer £24million to sign the Australian international in January, and considering what Stoke could do in terms of squad investment with that sort of money, a sale could well be tempting for the Potters.
Another Stoke player who recent performances ought to be attracting plenty of interest as we approach the January window, is Nick Powell.
The attacking midfielder has once again stood out for Stoke this season, top scoring with five league goals so far, and it is perhaps no surprise to see that the club’s dip in form has virtually coincided with him being ruled out through injury.
That shows the quality that Powell does possess, and it is worth pointing out that as things stand, Stoke will need to trigger a 12-month extension to prevent him leaving the club for free when his contract expires at the end of this season.
Stoke could therefore be under pressure to sell for cheaper than they might otherwise want if an offer comes in, meaning clubs should be tempted to try their luck over a deal for the 27-year-old.