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World Cup: Harry Souttar EPL move, Graham Arnold tells clubs to splash cash

Just 30 days ago, on the night of Halloween, Harry Souttar was playing for Stoke City’s under-21s.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold has told EPL clubs to hurry up and sign gun defender Harry Souttar, who should fetch a record-breaking transfer fee for his current side, writes ADAM PEACOCK.

Just 30 days ago, on the night of Halloween, Harry Souttar was playing for Stoke City’s under-21s.

It was a filthy Monday night just north of Birmingham, with no one watching because collecting candy was a much better option.

Stoke got pumped 4-0 but it served a purpose. Souttar, after 12 months out with a ruptured ACL, had regained his fitness. His knee, mind and body were all in harmony again.

He was ready … for English Championship football with Stoke.

But what just happened in Australia v Denmark, on a wild night in Doha? A month later? Really?!

For the second World Cup game in a row, Souttar looked as good as any defender at the tournament with his mix of power and poise.

Coach Graham Arnold, the man who brought Souttar into the Australian set-up, had little doubt when choosing the huge centre-half for the World Cup off such a limited preparation.

“I just had so much belief in that boy. I know his mentality is so strong,” Arnold said after the Denmark win, before going one further.

“I tell you what, if I was a Premier League club, I‘d be banging on his door real quick. He’s that good.”

With a January transfer window around the corner, Stoke City will be getting more offers than a beach house in Byron Bay.

Souttar’s value could be a whole street.

*****

Souttar was imperious, again, against Denmark. Didn’t make a mistake in clearing the late bombardment from the Danish, was calm on the ball throughout and the slide tackles were back.

The one against Tunisia stood out but on at least three more occasions, Souttar’s impossibly long legs cut short any hope the Scandinavians had of making Maty Ryan work for his corn.

Messi has his unstoppable runs into the box, Ronaldo his soaring headers (that he touches), Mbappe his insane, Usain-like pace. The Souttar slide is as good in its chosen field.

And, in keeping with everything that surrounds the Socceroos, Souttar is central to the down-to-earth demeanour that defines this tight-knit squad.

“Can’t tell you how good that feels, that it makes people happy and excited about football,” Souttar said beating Denmark.

“The next generation can come and look at us the same way as the Golden Generation.”

*****

Souttar’s valuation is very much guesswork but it’s fair to say that if Stoke sell him in the coming January transfer window, or at the end of the season, he will shatter their current record sale of $33 million set by Marko Arnautovic.

Transfer fees are a little bit unbalanced, with the length of contracts of wanted players and the desperate needs of the buyer inflating prices. That’s why Harry Maguire went to Manchester United for $133 million.

Souttar won’t get to that price, with perhaps around $50-70 million more reasonable.

Whatever the figure on his head, he’s quickly become invaluable to the Socceroos.

Like the team he’s leading in Doha, there is no limit to what the future might hold for the towering defender.

Adam PeacockStaff writer

Starting as a cadet, Adam spent nearly a decade at the Seven Network, before a 15 year stint at Fox Sports covering football, tennis, cricket, Olympics and jousting. Fave teams are the Socceroos, Matildas, Newcastle Utd, Manly, while hobbies include watching sport, eating food, sleeping and waking up to do the same.

Adam Peacock
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