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Stoke City take pole position in race for James Chester
TEAMtalk understands that Stoke City have moved into pole position to land experienced Aston Villa defender James Chester.
The defender has generated a solid amount of interest from the second tier with a whole host of clubs contacting Villa over the possibility of a loan move – including the likes of Derby, Middlesbrough and Swansea.
Interest for Chester has also been registered from further afield with Rangers, Celtic and a number of MLS teams reportedly also touching base with Villa.
Despite the speculation, we understand it is Stoke that are now in prime position to sign Chester – a player they have previously had a £5million bid turned down for in 2018.
The 31-year-old is yet to make a single appearance in the Premier League for the Villans despite being a key performer in the first half of last season’s promotion campaign.
Chester is out of contract in the summer, meaning a loan will give the defender an opportunity to pick up a bit of form before he leaves Villa Park in May.
The Welshman missed a big chunk of the start last season with a significant knee injury – meaning Stoke may be taking a risk in signing a player who has been without first-team football for some time.
However, the Potters are hovering dangerously above the Championship relegation zone and the addition of a proven centre-half could add some much needed stability at the Bet365.
Stoke may have seen Chester as a second option to their other defensive target, Bournemouth’s Jack Simpson – who was told he would be remaining at Bournemouth by Eddie Howe on Monday night.
Stoke will feature on Friday’s televised game at the weekend against Derby – whether Chester is part of the squad for the fixture remains to be seen.
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