Bjorn Engels left Aston Villa for Royal Antwerp over the summer, forcing the Midlands outfit to re-sign Axel Tuanzebe on loan from Manchester United, but Football Insider believe Villa are after another centre-back in Harry Souttar.
The 22-year-old would seemingly have Tuanzebe, Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Kortney Hause for competition if signed, but Noel Whelan still thinks it’s a good thing that British players are being preferred by Premier League clubs.
He told Football Insider about Villa’s pursuit of Souttar: “There seems to be a kind of trend at the moment for certain clubs to get a few more British-based players into the Premier League.
“In my opinion, it is absolutely brilliant. It’s only going to work well for the national sides as well that these young boys are getting the chance from the academies.
“Look at Arsenal. Smith Rowe looks like he is going to be an absolutely fantastic player. He can be their leader, along with Saka, for years and years to come. That is if they can hold on to them.
“It’s great that Villa are not just looking overseas. There are players on your doorstep that could make that step forward and be very successful for Premier League clubs.”
After loan spells at Ross County (January 2018 – May 2018) and Fleetwood United (January 2019 – May 2019) (July 2019 – July 2020), Souttar became a regular in the first-team and is now a key player under Michael O’Neill.
He’s played in 10 of the Potters’ 11 Championship games this season, keeping four clean sheets while conceding only nine goals. Souttar’s form has earned him attention from more Premier League sides than Villa too, so he could have his pick of clubs in the next transfer window.
Stoke will understandably be desperate to keep such an important player as they sit fourth in the second tier, but the chance to be in the top-flight might be too good to turn down.