Harry Souttar has been the subject of a lot of murmurings in the lead-up to the January transfer window with a host of Premier League clubs being linked with the Australian.
Stoke City have made an impressive start to the season under Michael O’Neill, now looking more likely than ever in their fourth season since relegation from the top-flight to make a credible challenge to get back there.
Souttar has been a huge part of that in the centre of the Potters’ back three and in doing so has gained a lot of admirers.
Complimented by other precocious talents like Leo Ostigard and Ben Wilmot, the Australian has stood out as one of the most accomplished defenders in the division. Stoke are in an extremely strong position from a financial standpoint with the 23-year-old’s deal at the Bet365 Stadium running until the summer of 2025.
There may be some hefty fees banded about come the turn of the year but ultimately it will be the player and club’s decision on whether or not he stays put for the rest of the campaign.
Souttar would gain valuable experience in the second half of the season if Stoke can carry on their positive processes. Potentially going on to finish in the play-off places, playing games of that magnitude would stand the Aussie in good stead when moving up the football pyramid where the stakes and pressure week on week only increases.
Therefore, he should remain at Stoke until at least the end of the season with the club understanding that the chances are his transfer value will more likely only increase rather than decrease from what it may be in January.
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Souttar’s hopes of a Premier League move may have taken a hit by the sacking of Nuno Espirito Santo at Tottenham Hotspur, the Portuguese was an admirer of the 23-year-old’s in his time at Wolverhampton Wanderers and it remains to be seen if Antonio Conte shares that view.
Everton have also been touted as a possible destination however the Toffees were not big spenders in the summer.
A move in January feels a little bit too soon with all parties probably better placed by the end of the season to start negotiating Souttar’s transfer.