Stoke City preparing shock January move for Middlesbrough defender George Friend

New Stoke boss Michael O’Neill is keen on a move for the Boro full-back in the January transfer window.

George Friend is said to be a target for Stoke City
George Friend is said to be a target for Stoke City

Middlesbrough’s Championship rivals Stoke City are preparing a shock January move for Boro full-back George Friend.

The Potters have recently appointed former Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill as their new manager, and O’Neill is keen to utilise the January transfer window in a bid to keep Stoke from dropping into the third tier.

The Northern Echo report that George Friend is a prominent part of Stoke’s plans for the January window, with the article stating that Stoke are impressed by the 32-year-old’s versatility.

Boro would be disappointed to lose Friend, yet the report states that they will not be able to offer every member of the playing staff a new contract on the same terms that they enjoy currently.

Friend is said to be one of the highest earners in the squad.

It remains to be seen whether Friend would want to move to Stoke, who have been struggling for some time and sit one place below Boro in the relegation zone.