Championship outfit Stoke City have reportedly emerged as the front-runner to sign Liam Delap on loan from Manchester City.

According to transfer guru Fabrizio Romano, Stoke City are close to signing Manchester City whizkid Liam Delap for the upcoming season. The Potters have set their sights on landing the highly-rated 19-year-old striker and are in advanced talks to sign him on loan without an option to buy.

Delap joined Manchester City in 2019 after spending ten years progressing through the ranks at Derby County. He has been making a name for himself at their academy thanks to his keen eye for a goal and is regarded as one of the hottest prospects in his age group.

Delap has been in incredible form for Manchester City’s youth sides in recent seasons, managing 62 direct goal contributions from 62 outings across the board (46 goals, 16 assists). The out-and-out centre-forward has been earmarked as a future Premier League star and has already made six appearances for Pep Guardiola’s senior side, scoring once.

While the 19-year-old has a bright future ahead of him, Manchester City may consider loaning out the forward to gain vital experience and regular first-team football which he may not receive while staying with the Citizens due to the fierce competition for pitch time following the arrivals of Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez in the striking department.

Fabrizio Romano suggests that Delap is certainly not short of suitors, with a handful of teams in the second tier hoping to snap him up for the 2022/23 campaign. The teenage whizkid is considered a big talent, and Manchester City do not intend to sell him, having already turned down a £16 million bid from Southampton, who have already raided the Premier League champions for two young prospects this summer.

Newcastle United also tried to sign the Manchester City whizkid, but the Citizens rejected all of the Magpies’ approaches. Instead, the talented teenager could be heading to the Championship, with Stoke City in the driving seat to secure his services.

Liam Delap is actually the son of Stoke City icon Rory Delap, who is still at the club as a first-team coach. Rory Delap made over 200 appearances for the Potters and remains popular with the club’s fans for his famous long throw-ins. Nevertheless, that family connection could now benefit Michael O’Neill’s side to sign the Manchester City prodigy.

Despite having Dwight Gayle and Tyrese Campbell among their forward options, bringing in attacking reinforcements is expected to be O’Neill’s top priority ahead of the transfer deadline. If they can get a loan deal for Delap over the line, Stoke will be getting their hands on a powerful, exciting, and ruthless marksman who has the potential to take the Championship by storm, boosting their promotion hopes.

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