Stoke City are closing in on the signing of Aston Villa defender James Chester, with Michael O’Neill keen on bolstering his defence this month.
According to journalist Graeme Bailey, Stoke are in pole position to secure Chester’s signature, with the Welsh defender said to have a number of options this month.
However, O’Neill is said to be a draw and a move to Stoke is now his most likely option. O’Neill was certainly an influential figure in Tyrese Campbell’s decision to re-sign with the club, while he now seems set on bringing Chester to the club.
Stoke have been solid defensively in recent weeks, keeping three consecutive clean sheets and taking 13 points from their past six matches in the Championship. With Danny Batth and Liam Lindsay at centre-back the Potters have been vastly improved, while Bruno Martins-Indi has been forced to play out of position at left-back.
Nathan Collins is also part of the squad, but Chester is an experienced campaigner with 344 senior appearances in his career so far. Chester was a regular for Villa in recent seasons but has fallen out of favour this year in the Premier League.
The Wales international has made just two appearances this season, both in domestic cup competitions. Chester has also appeared in the Premier League for Hull City and West Bromwich Albion in the past. Another potential bonus to Chester’s arrival could be his ability to play at both right and left back.
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Stoke face Derby County on Friday in their next Championship fixture.