Everton are reportedly set to step up their pursuit of Stoke City defender Harry Souttar as Yerry Mina edges towards the exit door.
Mina is believed to be keen on a move to Serie A next summer, with Inter amongst the clubs interested in his services, meaning the Toffees have already begun searching for his successor.
And according to The Sun, Souttar has been identified as the ideal candidate to do just that after catching Duncan Ferguson’s eye during a scouting mission.
The report also states that fellow Premier League outfit Brighton and Hove Albion are keen on the youngster’s services, although his price tag has put him out of the reach of Graham Potter’s charges.
Souttar has established himself as one of the Championship’s top centre-back’s after departing boyhood club Dundee United to join Stoke back in September 2016, although the youngster had to prove his worth through multiple loan spells away from the Bet365 Stadium first.
A 12-month stay at Fleetwood Town during 2019/20 proved to be a key turning point in the Australia international’s career, and his eye-catching performances at Highbury Stadium were enough to secure a place in Michael O’Neill’s first-team plans.
“We drip-fed him in using the cup games to begin with and he found his way into the starting XI,” said O’Neill. “I said to him that he just has to keep up the levels he’s been doing. Sometimes young players drop off a little bit. He can’t allow that to happen.
“He’s a player blessed with great natural attributes. Obviously his height, but also, he’s got good game intelligence, and he’s a great user of the ball as well. That’s something which I think will set him apart from the other defenders in this league,” he concluded.
Souttar made 38 league starts for the Potters last term as he found his feet at the heart of defence and has continued his good form into the current campaign, making 12 Championship outings as Stoke sit ninth in the second-tier table.
His solid form for the second-tier hopefuls has seen Everton intensify their pursuit of the 6 foot 6 starlet, and the fans would surely love to see another talented youngster grace the Goodison Park pitch.
At that height too, he could just be their ideal heir to Mina if he decides to leave for pastures new in January.