Stoke City are reportedly weighing up a potential swoop for Cambridge United prospect Saleem Akanbi ahead of the January window.
However, Stoke may need to fend off competition for Akanbi’s signature if they are looking to make a move for him next month as Premier League side Wolverhampton Wanderers have also been touted as potential suitors.
Akanbi has yet to make an appearance for Cambridge’s senior side as he has been used exclusively by the club at youth level.
The midfielder recently scored a stunning goal for the club’s Under-18 side in their FA Youth Cup victory over Oxford United and may be in line to feature in the fourth round of this competition when the U’s take on Leeds United next month.
However, with Stoke and Wolves both keeping a close eye on the starlet, he could potentially leave Cambridge before this game takes place.
The U’s are believed to be considering the possibility of handing Akanbi his first-team debut as they look to further his development.
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If Stoke are aiming to seal a deal for Akanbi, manager Michael O’Neill is unlikely to utilise the midfielder during the second-half of the 2021/22 campaign as the Cambridge man has yet to make his bow at senior level.
The Potters may find it difficult to persuade Akanbi to seal a move to the bet365 Stadium as Wolves can currently offer him the chance of playing Premier League football in the future.
Unless O’Neill believes that Akanbi can play a key role for Stoke in the coming years, he should avoid being dragged into a potential bidding war for the midfielder next month.
By switching his attention to signing players who are capable of making an instant impact in the Championship, the Stoke boss could guide his side to a great deal of success in the New Year if he nails his transfer recruitment.