Stoke City are heading into the new season as 7/4 favourites to win promotion from the Championship.
And the Potters could boost their hopes – and weaken a Champ rival – with the signing of James Chester from Aston Villa.
The 29-year-old has been a key man for the Villans since joining in 2016. Arguably the Championship’s best centre-back, he knows this league inside out. That also includes promotion experience with Hull City in 2012-13.
If the Potters are to make it up to the top-flight this term, they’d also have a man with 60-Premier League games under his belt.
With less than a year left on his contract at Villa Park, the Wales international could also be available for a bargain fee. The Potters initially had a £5m bid turned down, but the latest reports suggest they’re tabling £8m to secure the defender’s services.
While Villa fans would surely hate to see him go, the West Midlands club are in a difficult financial position and could find some quick cash for Chester hard to resist.
Stoke kick off their first Championship campaign since 2008 away to Leeds United on Sunday 5th August, with 7/4 for a Potters victory.
Whether Chester will be in the visitors’ ranks for that trip remains to be seen.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing