Premier League • England

Lopetegui eyes Wolves raid for outstanding World Cup defender – but West Ham threaten to muscle in on deal

Harry Souttar of Australia reacts during the Group D match between Australia and Denmark at the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Al Janoub Stadium in Al Wakrah, Qatar, Nov. 30, 2022

Newly-appointed Wolves manager Julen Lopetgeui is eyeing a January move for Australia’s World Cup star Harry Souttar to bolster his side’s defensive options, TEAMtalk has learned.

Stoke centre-back Souttar was one of the stand-out performers for Australia at the World Cup. The 24-year-old featured in every game as the Socceroos surprised plenty to reach the last 16. Their run, though, came to an end following a defeat to eventual winners Argentina.

And Souttar’s impressive displays in Qatar were all the more remarkable having only recently recovered from a serious knee injury which ruled him out for over a year.

Souttar was attracting interest from Premier League clubs prior to his injury, anyway. But his stunning performances at the World Cup have brought him on to the radar of a host of top clubs across Europe.

Now we understand that Stoke are bracing themselves for interest in the giant 6ft 6in defender in January. And the Potters would find it hard to resist any sizeable offers for the Scottish-born star.

Lopetegui has quickly stamped his mark on the Wolves squad with the Old Gold announcing the signing of Matheus Cunha from Atletico Madrid on Christmas Day. And the Spaniard hopes to make further additions before the window shuts in order to boost his side’s survival prospects.

The Boxing Day victory at Everton has lifted Wolves off the bottom of the table. And that success at Goodison was just Wolves’ third win in 16 attempts this season – not that Lopetegui is taking anything for granted.

West Ham to rival Wolves for Harry Souttar transfer

However, Wolves are far from alone in their pursuit of Souttar. TEAMtalk also understands that the 13-times capped defender is also on West Ham’s radar too.

Hammers boss David Moyes is keen to add to their centre-back options. Favoured pairing Kurt Zouma and Nayef Aguerd are, sadly, no strangers to the treatment room. And with Craig Dawson and Angelo Ogbonna seeing their deals expire in the summer, the pair are being linked with moves away.

Defensively, the Hammers are not performing too badly, having conceded 20 goals in 16 games. To that end, they have shipped three less goals than Tottenham in fourth place.

But Moyes wants to add to his defensive options in light of uncertainty around Dawson and Ogbonna. And Souttar, if the price is right, is very much in his thinking.

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