Stoke City are expected to step up their interest in Hearts defender John Souttar in January, as per a report from the Scottish Sun.
Blackburn Rovers, Middlesbrough and Stoke City were all credited with an interest in the 25-year-old defender, according to Edinburgh Evening News during the week.
However, this latest report suggests that The Potters are looking to get ahead of their Championship counterparts for the signing of the Scottish defender.
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Stoke’s intensified interest in the Hearts defender comes as a result of an injury to the 25-year-old’s brother, Harry Souttar, who has been a star performer for the Championship club this season.
Harry, who is the younger brother at 23 years old, represents Australia at national level and sustained his injury during a goalless draw against Saudi Arabia during the week.
The colossal defender could be out for some time with his injury although the extent is yet to be determined – John though has impressed with three goals in 11 Scottish Premiership appearances this season for the Jam Tarts and could be an ideal replacement.
John Souttar has been excellent for Hearts this season and it is no surprise to see him catch the eye of top-six aspiring teams in the Championship.
His defensive intelligence, combined with his physicality, makes him a difficult opponent to come up and against.
His younger brother has also been the subject of Premier League transfer interest, meaning that even if his injury is not as bad as first suspected, he still may be brought into the side.
The Potters will undoubtedly face competition if his signature, and it will be no surprise to see more clubs join the chase for the 25-year-old.
Hearts are currently keeping pace with Rangers and Celtic at the top end of the Scottish Premiership and possess the second-best defensive record in the division, with Souttar playing a massive part in that.