Everton are willing to spend up to £24 million in an attempt to beat Aston Villa and Tottenham in the race for Stoke City centre-back Harry Souttar in the next transfer window, according to Fichajes.Net.
The Australian defender has been arguably Stoke’s finest player over the past 12 months – marshalling the backline and dominating opposition forwards both on the ground and in the air.
Souttar’s performances have turned heads in the Premier League and Football Insider reported yesterday that the Potters are aware of interest from Everton, Spurs, and Villa while the Championship club are braced for bids in the winter window.
According to Spanish outlet Fichajes.Net, the Toffees plan to spend up to £24 million to prize him away from Stoke.
It is said that Everton will be looking to capitalise on having more money to spend and space on the wage bill after the departure of high-earner James Rodriguez in September.
Souttar joined Stoke from Dundee United in 2016 but only really established himself in the first team last season, though he has quickly become a key player under Michael O’Neill.
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There’s an awful lot to like about Souttar, so it’s no surprise that Everton are prepared to pay more than £20 million to sign him in the upcoming window.
The 23-year-old has been excellent over the past 12 months or so and looks to have all the attributes to grow into a quality Premier League centre-back.
Souttar is among the squad leaders in terms of tackles, interceptions, blocks, and clearances per game – while he has made 78 more passes than any Stoke player this term and has a success rate of 82.8% (Whoscored).
Aerially he has been dominant, averaging 4.6 duels won per game, and he’s shown his goalscoring threat on the international stage for Australia – scoring six times in nine games for them in World Cup qualifying.
The Australian international’s current deal runs until 2025, which means it’s not going to be cheap to prize him away, particularly in January.
It’s going to be interesting to see whether the likes of Villa and Spurs are willing to go as big for him.