Former Stoke City player Mike Pejic believes it will take a fee well in excess of £20m to sign Harry Souttar, as he urged the defender to hold out for a Champions League level club.
The 22-year-old has been outstanding for the Potters for over a year now, with his performances in central defence key to the excellent start Michael O’Neill’s men have had.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, that has prompted interest from Premier League clubs, as The Sun have claimed Everton and Spurs are scouting the big defender.
However, with Souttar secured on a long-term contract, the Potters won’t be under pressure to sell, and, speaking to Stoke-On-Trent Live, Pejic explained how top-flight clubs have missed the boat on a player who he backed to play at the highest level in the game.
“If I had been in a Premier League club I would have bid £20m this summer because who knows what it would cost to get him now. I was delighted when the transfer window shut and he was at Stoke.
“He’s already an international player, his games for Stoke have been his base level and now he can challenge himself at the world level. Forget a mid-table team, he needs to be in the Champions League to take him to the full potential he’s got.”
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There’s no denying that Souttar is a top talent and he could walk into many Premier League sides tomorrow.
Everyone connected to Stoke, including Pejic, clearly recognises that, and the fans will share his relief that the defender remained at the Bet365 Stadium after the deadline had passed.
His Champions League claim is a bold one, but Souttar is going to want to play in the Premier League quickly, and if he doesn’t help Stoke to promotion this season, they could have a battle on their hands to keep him. Pleasingly though, the contract situation means they will get a fee that reflects his ability if Souttar does depart.
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