Everton ‘plan to step up’ their pursuit of Stoke City defender Harry Souttar, with Brighton & Hove Albion also keen.

Souttar, 23, has been a standout performer for Stoke City this season.

The Potters have emerged as early top-six contenders under Michael O’Neill and Souttar has featured in all but one of their opening 14 Championship fixtures this season.

His side have dropped down into 9th-place after a run of three-straight defeats in the league however, and in the build-up to January Alan Nixon is now reporting (Sun on Sunday, 24.10.21, pg. 65) that Everton intend to step up their pursuit of the 6ft 6in defender.

The Toffees were linked with the Stoke City man earlier in the month, alongside the likes of Spurs and Aston Villa. But Nixon has now revealed that Brighton are also keen on the defender, though the Seagulls may be priced out of a move.

No price has yet to be reported. With so many clubs linked with Souttar though, we can expect Stoke City to try and drive the price up as much as they can – last summer they sold Nathan Collins to Burnley for a reported £12million fee.

The Potters keep on producing and developing some fine players in the likes of Collins and Souttar, and Tyrese Campbell too.

It’s a credit to their youth production system but if they want to break out of the Championship and stay out of it, they’ll need to consider keeping their top players like Souttar.

Losing him mid-season would be a huge blow to the club but last summer, they were frantically looking to shed weight off their wage bill and a possibly big transfer fee for Souttar could prove too enticing from a monetary point of view for Stoke.