Stoke City have announced that they have agreed a deal to keep defender James Chester at the club until the end of the 2019/20 season.
The 31-year-old joined on loan from Aston Villa in January and quickly became a regular fixture in Michael O’Neill’s side – featuring in the Potters’ last seven Championship games before the delay.
Nearly three months after the English football season ground to a halt, it was announced on Sunday that the Championship was set to return on the 20th of June.
The EFL has revealed that their provisional plans will see the season concluded with the play-off final on or around the 30th of July.
With many contracts set to expire at the end of June and some loan deals having ended in May, the extension has caused issues for some clubs but it appears Stoke have worked quickly to ensure Chester remains at the Bet365 Stadium.
The club announced today that the Welshman’s loan deal had been extended, meaning he will stay with the Potters until the end of the season.
Chester’s future beyond the end of the 2019/20 campaign remains uncertain as the defender’s current contract with Aston Villa is set to expire at the end of June. He will, therefore, become a free agent at the end of the season.
The central defender’s focus before that will be on ensuring Stoke can secure survival, with the Potters just three points above the relegation zone as things stand.
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This is a real boost for Stoke and you have to applaud them for working quickly to resolve the situation.
Chester has been an excellent addition and played his part in helping the Potters’ climb up the Championship in the weeks before the delay.
You’d imagine they’ll be keen to secure a deal for the 31-year-old permanently when the season finishes but for the time being, they will just be happy to have him for the run-in.