TEAMtalk understands that Stoke City have moved into pole position to land experienced Aston Villa defender James Chester.
The defender has generated a solid amount of interest from the second tier with a whole host of clubs contacting Villa over the possibility of a loan move – including the likes of Derby, Middlesbrough and Swansea.
Interest for Chester has also been registered from further afield with Rangers, Celtic and a number of MLS teams reportedly also touching base with Villa.
Despite the speculation, we understand it is Stoke that are now in prime position to sign Chester – a player they have previously had a £5million bid turned down for in 2018.
The 31-year-old is yet to make a single appearance in the Premier League for the Villans despite being a key performer in the first half of last season’s promotion campaign.
Chester is out of contract in the summer, meaning a loan will give the defender an opportunity to pick up a bit of form before he leaves Villa Park in May.
The Welshman missed a big chunk of the start last season with a significant knee injury – meaning Stoke may be taking a risk in signing a player who has been without first-team football for some time.
However, the Potters are hovering dangerously above the Championship relegation zone and the addition of a proven centre-half could add some much needed stability at the Bet365.
Stoke may have seen Chester as a second option to their other defensive target, Bournemouth’s Jack Simpson – who was told he would be remaining at Bournemouth by Eddie Howe on Monday night.
Stoke will feature on Friday’s televised game at the weekend against Derby – whether Chester is part of the squad for the fixture remains to be seen.