Everton’s Matthew Pennington could be a Stoke player next year, with the Stoke Sentinel reporting that they are leading the race to sign him.
Stoke are in need of a defender after Ashley Williams’ loan came to an end, and Pennington could be that player although he is also being linked with Derby and Wigan.
The 24-year-old has has made seven appearances for The Toffees but spent much of his career so far out on loan, with the most recent spell being at Ipswich this season, where he made 31 appearances.
Stoke conceded 52 goals last season, and despite having experienced defenders in Ryan Shawcross, Danny Batth and Bruno Martins Indi, Nathan Jones is believed to be looking to add another centre-half to his squad.
Pennington has two years remaining on his current contract, so Stoke would have to pay a fee if they’re unable to work out a loan deal. Transfermarkt value him at £670,000, which is a price Stoke should be able to afford.
Pennington did well despite playing in a team which won only five games in the Championship last season. He would add youth to an ageing backline and could be a great long-term investment. He has room to improve but Jones will have to play him consistently, and that is perhaps unlikely given the quality of their other defenders.
Training with Shawcross and Bruno Martins Indi, both players who have played at international level, should do him the world of good. However, when he does get his chance in the starting line-up he has to prove himself straight away, as Stoke cannot afford a passenger in their side if they’re going for promotion.