Scottish club Hearts have four Stoke City players on their radar ahead of the January transfer window including Liam Lindsay, Adam Davies, Mame Diouf and Peter Etebo, according to the Edinburgh News.
New Hearts boss Daniel Stendel is reportedly keen on reuniting with both Lindsay and Davies after coaching them at Barnsley last season, while Diouf and Etebo are also on the German’s radar given the duo’s lack of game time this term.
Stendel is being aided in his transfer recruitment by Austin MacPhee, who worked with Stoke boss Michael O’Neill in the Northern Ireland national team’s set-up, and it is now thought Hearts could benefit from the pair’s close relationship.
It is understood MacPhee was present for Stoke’s 2-1 defeat to Middlesbrough on Friday as both Diouf and Lindsay featured, while the Potters are currently understood to be in talks with Hearts over a series of potential loan deals, but permanent moves have also not been ruled out.
Lindsay has made 17 appearances in defence for Stoke since his move from Barnsley over the summer, while Davies is yet to play competitively for his new side after playing second fiddle to Jack Butland so far this season.
Meanwhile, Diouf has only managed to make a total of five appearances for the Potters this term, while Etebo made 14 outings before suffering an injury in October, and the midfielder was then an unused substitute on Boxing Day.
Can you score maximum points in this Stoke quiz? Have a go now!
It would certainly be a surprising turn of events if all four of these Stoke players sealed a move north of the border, but it could also make sense given Stendel’s link to Lindsay and Davies, in addition to MacPhee’s relationship with O’Neill.
Stoke will be looking to streamline their squad in the new year in order to create space for potential incomings, and O’Neill will have now had some time to assess which players he would like to work with in the second half of the season.
It appears that these four players are now all surplus to requirements at the bet365 Stadium, and loan moves would perhaps be the best move given the finances involved, in addition to the fact Lindsay and Davies only recently signed for Stoke.