Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill is wanting to try and keep hold of Harry Souttar and build a side around the defender in the long-term but there is an acceptance he could leave, according to the Stoke Sentinel.
Souttar has been in fine form for the Potters at the start of the season with the defender picking up from where he left off last term.
That has played a major factor in O’Neill’s side establishing themselves as one of the promotion contenders so far this term.
In total, the 22-year-old has managed to average 2.1 interceptions, 1.8 tackles and six clearances per game in his 11 Championship appearances this term to help the Potters record three clean sheets.
That form has started to see Souttar attract the attention of other clubs. The Stoke Sentinel have recently reported that Tottenham Hotspur have had scouts watch the defender ahead of a potential move for him.
While a recent report from The Sun has also revealed that Everton are also monitoring Souttar’s performances with them potentially keen to also make a move for him.
Aston Villa are the latest club to have reportedly joined the race for Souttar’s signature, with Football Insider reporting that Villa have placed him on their list of potential transfer targets.
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According to the latest update from the Stoke Sentinel, the Potters are keen to keep hold of Souttar if they can do and build their side around him in the coming years.
However, it is also thought that there is also an acceptance that should the right offer come in for him then they will sanction a departure.
Stoke’s stance should not really come as too much of a surprise here because the Potters do have to be realistic and accept that if they do not earn promotion to the Premier League soon then Souttar will likely outgrow them.
The major plus for Stoke is that from a contractual perspective they are in control of the situation because they have Souttar signed up to a long-term deal.
That means that the likes of Tottenham, Everton and Aston Villa are going to have to pay a lot of money to get him away from the Potters.
O’Neill’s side were willing to do a deal with Burnley in the summer for Nathan Collins when it became clear the Clarets would offer them a good fee for him. You would expect a similar approach to Souttar’s situation if and when other teams come calling.
However, selling him in January would be a major potential risk for the Potters because it might well dent their hopes of achieving promotion. So, if they are to sell then they should be waiting until the summer really.