Stoke City enter the international break in a really strong place in the Championship table following their 1-0 win against West Brom on Friday night.
Michael O’Neill’s side as a result of that win against West Brom sit in fourth place just one point bellow West Brom in 2nd place.
A key factor in the Potters’ bright start to the campaign has been the form of defender Harry Souttar, who has once again been a huge player for them in defence.
The defender had been the subject of some transfer interest during the summer and there were reports that the likes of Burnley, West Ham and Wolves were potentially keen to make a move for him during the off-season.
However, Stoke sold Nathan Collins to Burnley and that meant that they were able to ensure that they kept hold of all of their other key players during the summer transfer window.
Since then, Souttar has been able to start ten of their opening 11 league matches.
In that time the 22-year-old has helped the Potters record three clean sheets and he is averaging 2.1 interceptions, six clearances and 1.8 tackles per game for Stoke in the Championship.
That form is inevitably going to start to lead to yet more transfer interest in Souttar from the Premier League ahead of the forthcoming January transfer window.
With that in mind, we have outlined the potential paths that could be available to Souttar at the moment given the recent speculation surrounding his future…
Join Tottenham Hotspur
According to the latest report from the Stoke Sentinel, Tottenham Hotspur have been keeping a watchful eye over the performances of Souttar.
That comes with them having sent scouts to see him in action in the Championship ahead of a potential move for the defender.
Tottenham are not a side that are scared of making moves for young and talented defenders from the Championship. They brought in Joe Rodon from Swansea City in recently and this would be a similar sort of move for them to make.
It has not been an easy start to life in charge of Tottenham for Nuno Espírito Santo and his side have shown one or two vulnerabilities at the back which might lead them to think that they need to invest in a new centre-back.
Souttar is not a household name that Tottenham could bring into the club to bolster their options at the heart of their defence.
However, he is someone who has demonstrated consistent quality in the Championship and also at international level with Australia.
The 22-year-old would get the chance to test himself in the Premier League and in European club competition at Tottenham and play for a club with a lot of expectation on them.
That is something that he should be able to handle, but he will need to consider whether he would get the regular guaranteed game time he needs for his development with Tottenham.
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Move to Everton
According to the latest report from The Sun, Everton are also in the race to secure a move for Souttar at this stage with the Toffees also monitoring the defender’s performances for the Potters in the Championship this season.
It is believed that the Toffees see Souttar as potentially an ideal player to bring into the club to replace Yerry Mina if they were to allow him to leave Goodison Park.
Like Tottenham, Everton are not unfamiliar with signing young defensive talents. They have enjoyed a lot of success developing Ben Godfrey since they signed him from Norwich City.
You would expect Souttar to be able to repeat the same success as Godfrey and there is certainly room for the 22-year-old to establish himself as a key player in Everton’s squad.
The defender would also get the chance to work with a manager with the calibre of Rafa Benitez, who would be able to get more out of him and bring his game to a new level.
That has to be an appealing prospect for Souttar, and he will feel that he would be ready to make the step up to the Premier League with the Toffees.
Stay at Stoke
Souttar could of course decide to remain at the Bet365 Stadium and continue his fine development under O’Neill.
That might seem like a strange decision to make if both Tottenham and Everton come calling for the 22-year-old, but there is certainly a case for the defender to stay put where he is.
Stoke are performing really well in the Championship this season and there is a chance that they could potentially mount a serious promotion push this term.
The defender’s form is going to be crucial to that and if he can stay with the Potters for the full campaign and help to get them into the top-flight then he would be a real legend amongst the fanbase.
The Potters are unlikely to be willing to cash in on Souttar in January if they are still right up amongst the promotion contenders in the Championship. So, the defender might well have to stay with them until at least the summer.
Were Stoke to earn promotion this season, then Souttar might be wise to stay with them in the long-term because it would give him the chance to play guaranteed football week in week out in the top-flight.