No Premier League side conceded more goals than Stoke City last season.
Consequently, Gary Rowett is looking at bringing in James Chester according to Football Insider. Aston Villa will not be keen on selling their star defender, but they may be forced to sell him due to mounting financial pressure. It would be a mighty coup for Stoke if they could get hold of him.
The Aston Villa defender saw his promotion hopes dashed by a play-off final defeat to Fulham. Nonetheless, his personal season was a success. He formed a nigh-on impregnable backline with John Terry. They proved the most watertight defence outside of the automatically promoted sides.
Chester’s impact on the game was significant. Making 7.7 clearances and 1.3 interceptions per game, he was the most active defender at Villa Park. This is something that is desperately needed at The Bet365.
Stoke’s goal difference was comfortably the worst in the division with teams cutting through them like a hot knife through butter. No team conceded more goals (68) or kept fewer clean sheets (6) than the Potters. It could have been worse as their keepers made more saves than any other club. Put simply, they were too exposed. Bringing in Chester would provide that protection as well as Championship nous.
He would, naturally, be expensive. The Daily Mail recently reported that Villa value him at £10 million. If that is the cost of a reliable defence, it is worth it. Stoke should go for him with everything they have.