This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Stoke City could be set to battle QPR over Aston Villa’s Neil Taylor, with The Sun reporting both Championship clubs are eyeing the Welshman ahead of the summer.
The 32-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and it is understood that Stoke and the R’s are both keen, alongside Istanbul Basaksehir and Trabzonspor.
So, would he be a good signing for Stoke? And do they need him?
Our FLW writers share their thoughts…
There are pros and cons to this potential deal for Stoke City.
Taylor has shown that he’s got what it takes to perform to the required standard in the Championship, which will make this move a tempting proposition for Michael O’Neill’s side.
But with Taylor still playing his football in the Premier League with Aston Villa, it seems likely that he’ll be on relatively high wages, which could put off potential suitors heading into the summer transfer window.
If they can bring his wage demands down, then I think this would be a smart piece of business by Stoke City ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Strength in depth is certainly needed in the Potters’ defence this summer, and Taylor would definitely provide them with that.
Did these 18 players make more than 100 Stoke City appearances?
This would be a decent enough addition for Stoke City to make in the summer, with Neil Taylor a player with plenty of experience and having the ability to potentially slot into their side at left-back. Given his lack of game time with Villa this term he has to find a new club you feel in the summer.
Taylor was a key part of the Aston Villa side that went on to earn promotion back to the Premier League in the 2018/19 campaign. That shows that he has the class needed to perform consistently in a side chasing promotion from the Championship. Stoke could well benefit from his qualities and Michael O’Neill would be able to get the best out of him.
Stoke are going need to a new left-back in the summer, with Rhys Norrington-Davies heading back to Sheffield United. Whilst fans might want them to go for a younger option, Taylor represents a player that has vital experience and is also very solid defensively. Those are qualities they would need from any new signing they recruit in that position.
The 32-year-old should still have a few more years left him at a high level, so as long as he remained injury free he would be a potentially good option for the Potters.
If Stoke aren’t getting Rhys Norrington-Davies back on loan then they could do a lot worse than Taylor.
The Wales international sees his contract expiring at the end of the season and after making just one Premier League all season, Taylor really needs to head somewhere where he will be getting regular minutes at the age of 32.
I don’t doubt that there’s a very good Championship left-back in there, especially in a back four, but if Michael O’Neill opts for three centre-backs and wing-backs next season, can Taylor do all the hard graft down the left in that system?
That’s the only reservation I’d have for his potential signing – and by the sounds of things he may have offers from across Europe and perhaps the Middle East, so Stoke may not be the most lucrative out of the potential destinations for Taylor, but it would definitely be one that would suit him location-wise and for playing time.