Stoke City announced the signing of Leo Ostigard on a season-long loan move from Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday.
The 21-year-old became Michael O’Neill’s fifth addition of the summer, but where will he fit in at the club, who began the Championship season with a 3-2 win over Reading FC at the weekend?
Is it a good move?
If the Norwegian can replicate the skill he showed at Championship level last season for Coventry City then he is certainly ready for the step up to the Potters. Stoke have five centre backs with a nice blend of youth and experience, Ostigard is arguably the most precocious of the lot. At this stage of his career, with it looking increasingly difficult to break into the Seagulls’ first team picture Stoke provide an appropriate challenge, aiming to kick on towards the play-off places.
Would he start?
With O’Neill currently implementing three centre backs Ostigard is a shoe in, making his debut alongside Harry Souttar and James Chester on Tuesday evening in the Potters’ cup victory over Fleetwood Town.
Specialist left back Morgan Fox slotted in on the left side of the back three in their opening day win against Reading, with Souttar on the bench.
With summer signing Ben Wilmot and Danny Batth also in the ranks, the competition for places is fierce. Ostigard may have to wait a week or two for his first league start, giving the former Northern Ireland manager time to assess the best role for him. But once he gets the nod, Ostigard is likely to be a mainstay for the rest of the campaign.
What does he offer?
The 21-year-old is a huge presence in both boxes, using his height and aerial ability to great effect. He would have learnt a lot from playing alongside experienced Football League centre back Kyle McFadzean last term and can add Batth and Chester to his list of mentors in this loan spell.
Ostigard is comfortable with the ball at his feet as is a priority at Brighton and therefore suits the right centre back of a three position very well. It will be interesting to see if he can combine with Tommy Smith at right wing back and contribute in the offensive third, as well as at the back.