Everton are reportedly ready to step up their pursuit of towering Australian defender Harry Souttar from EFL Championship outfit Stoke City.

According to a report from The Sun, Everton have decided to ramp up their pursuit of Stoke City centre-back Harry Souttar after having scouted him extensively.

The 23-year-old Souttar has been with Stoke City since 2016 when he arrived as a youngster from Scottish outfit Dundee United. After a couple of years where he did not feature much for the first-team, the defender had a couple of loan spells away at Ross County and Fleetwood Town before being integrated into the Potters’ senior side.

Souttar became a regular starter for the EFL Championship outfit in the last season, featuring in over 40 matches across all competitions while he has been an ever-present at the back this season, even captaining the team on several occasions, indicating his growing stature within the team.

Standing at a towering 2.01m tall, Souttar has also been capped five times by the Australian national team and has scored six goals as well for the Socceroos. The 23-year-old’s rising stature in club and international football has caught the attention of several Premier League clubs, including the likes of Tottenham Hotspur as well as Aston Villa and Everton.

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And, as per the aforementioned report, the Toffees are now ready to step up their efforts to secure the signing of the Australian international during the January transfer window. While Everton have defensive options in the form of Michael Keane, Yerry Mina, Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate, Mina has been linked with a move away from Goodison Park, with Inter Milan among the clubs interested in the Colombian.

Moreover, considering the poor defensive performances that they have put up of late, manager Rafael Benitez is intent on bolstering his backline, with Souttar now emerging as an ideal option. The Toffees had scouted him earlier this season with assistant manager Duncan Ferguson personally paying a visit.

They are said to have followed it up with yet another scouting trip last week as they narrow in on the 6ft 6in defender to strengthen their defensive roster. Everton are likely to face competition from Brighton & Hove Albion as well, but the Seagulls might not be able to afford Souttar’s transfer fee, which gives the Merseysiders an edge. It now remains to be seen if Benitez & co. do make a move for him.

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