Everton have reportedly stepped up their pursuit of Stoke City defender Harry Souttar as they prepare for Yerry Mina’s potential departure.
The Toffees were first linked with the highly-rated 23-year-old after it was revealed Duncan Ferguson had personally scouted the youngster ahead of a possible move.
And now, with Mina believed to be keen on a transfer to Serie A next summer and Inter amongst the clubs interested in his services, it appears Everton have already begun making plans to bring in his successor.
Spanish outlet Fichajes reported towards the end of last month that the Merseyside outfit are keeping a £20m sum aside as the January window approaches in order to convince Stoke to part ways with their prized asset as Rafa Benitez looks to bolster his defensive ranks.
Standing at a whopping 6 foot 7, Souttar certainly has the stature and physical prowess to replace the sizeable Mina in Everton’s backline.
But despite his imposing frame, the Australia international is also capable of carrying out the expectations placed upon a modern-day centre-back.
Potters boss Michael O’Neill has been quick to get this point across in the opening weeks of the campaign, praising Souttar’s ability on the ball in a post-match interview.
“I think Harry’s got a lot to offer,” he said. “The most pleasing thing for me is that Harry has made us better in terms of starting games from the back.
“People might just see 6ft 7in and think it’s all about the aerial side of the game but if anything it’s not like that for Harry. He’s a quality footballer, and I think he’s adapted to the Championship really well.”
After spending 2019/20 on loan at Fleetwood Town, Souttar has since established himself as a regular starter at the heart of Stoke’s defence over the last 18 months, and he’s currently enjoying a stellar campaign.
As per WhoScored, he’s averaged a whopping 5.8 clearances per league game this term – the highest total amongst his teammates – and also managed 1.9 tackles and 1.9 interceptions – the fourth-highest tallies compared to his colleagues.
Whether he’s able to make the step up to the Premier League remains to be seen, but the Everton supporters would surely love to see another promising young talent take to the Goodison Park pitch, especially if he possesses similar qualities to Mina.