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Leicester City (Apparently) Sign Defender Harry Souttar From Stoke City

Foxes sign SIXTH first team central defender. This should be fun.

Stoke City v Burnley - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Mick Walker - CameraSport via Getty Images

Leicester City appear to have completed the signing of defender Harry Souttar from Championship side Stoke City. The 24-year-old Aberdeen-born Australia international joins the Foxes on Deadline Day as their fourth signing of the January transfer window.

“Appear To Have”?

As of this post, no official announcement has been made*. However, this clip was just added to the @LCFC Twitter feed:

That’s as good as a “here we go!” for us. The tattoo is a dead giveaway.

* UPDATE: The signing is confirmed! No clue about the details, but the club is being a bit less cagey about it now.

Who is Harry Souttar?

The big defender joined the Potters as an 18-year-old in 2017 from Scottish side Ross County. He made only 61 senior starts for his parent club. Part of this is due to spending two years on loan at Fleetwood Town. In addition, he also tore his anterior cruciate ligament in 2021 and has only recently returned to league play.

Is he any good?

Maybe? As a tall defender, he’s somewhere between Virgil van Dijk and Jannik Vestergaard. I was quite high on him before his injury, and he had a brilliant (albeit short) World Cup for the Socceroos. He’s not quite back to full strength yet and it shows as his passing isn’t as crisp as it was in the past. When he’s healthy and sharp, he’s a massive aerial presence who is a surprisingly good tackler and passer of the ball.

Argentina v Australia: Round of 16 - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Did I mention he was a big lad?
Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images

To sum it up, he’s not quite got the body of work you’d like for a player at his age, but there are caveats that suggest there is still some growth left in his game.

How does he compare to our current defenders?

Well, he’s taller than the ones who actually play. He’s a little over 6’5” and he plays like it. Souttar will absolutely improve our ability to defend high balls into the box. He’s also more aggressive than our other defenders, and yes, that includes Wout Faes who isn’t exactly a shrinking violet in the box. Souttar has amassed quite the collection of yellow cards this year. After seeing that Brighton equaliser two weeks ago, I’m all for getting away from the “stand around and don’t get near the attacker” style of defence.

Is there any risk?

You’re always worried when a player is coming back from a serious knee injury, and signing players based on their World Cup performance can is dangerous. That said, I think what we’re really getting, at worst, is a bang-average defender who has a chance to be more than that. I would caution against expecting anything beyond that. Hope? Sure, hope all you want, and there’s a reasonable chance your hope will be rewarded.