Stoke City raiding rivals for this 287-game veteran would be effective to solve defensive crisis


Why Stoke City should move for George Friend in January

According to Hartlepool Mail (h/t The Northern Echo), Stoke City have been credited with an interest in Middlesbrough full-back George Friend, with new manager Michael O’Neill keen to bolster his backline during the mid-season trading period. 

The 32-year-old left-back is among a group of six first-team stars who are out of contract at the Riverside Stadium next summer. Boro’s problematic financial situation means that they will not be able to offer all the players new deals on the same terms which they enjoy currently (Hartlepool Mail h/t Northern Echo).

Friend, who is currently one of the club’s longest-serving players, hasn’t been deemed surplus to demands on Teesside just yet but Stoke City could exploit the veteran’s unsettled contract situation with a potential move.

George Friend is out of contract at Middlesbrough next summer (Getty Images)

The Barnstaple-born defender played regularly in the Championship under Tony Pulis in the previous campaign but he has just started twice for Boro this season, with Jonathan Woodgate preferring summer recruit Marc Bola and academy prospect Hayden Coulson in that role. 

Despite the team’s lacklustre performances over the first three months, Woodgate hasn’t given Friend a fair crack of the whip at left-back. As a result, the veteran has found himself lost in the cold. 

To that end, Middlesbrough and Stoke City are pretty much on the same boat as far as their position at the bottom of the table is concerned and it remains to be seen whether or not Friend would be keen to switch to another relegation-threatened outfit midway through the campaign.

The 32-year-old has carded a mammoth 287 appearances for the Teessiders in all competitions (Getty Images)

Realistically, Stoke City could possibly strike gold with their business in the January transfer window if the move does come off, given that the Potters do not have a lot of depth at left-back.

Nathan Jones deployed James McLean more often than not in an unfamiliar left-back role in the first quarter of the campaign. While former Burnley star Stephen Ward has been reinstated in the playing XI by new manager Michael O’Neill, the Potters can certainly do with another experienced head in that position. 

A defensive record of 29 goals conceded in 16 league fixtures looks quite dismal on paper and clearly epitomizes the need to bring in some reinforcements at the back, with Ward already 34 and out of contract at the end of the season. 

Notwithstanding the fact that Bruno Martins-Indi and Sam Clucas are capable of filling in at left-back, Stoke City need more cover if they are to achieve a better defensive record in the coming days.

Stoke City have been credited with an interest in George Friend (Getty Images)


A veteran of 287 appearances for Boro, George Friend certainly has a wealth of experience under his belt. 

Huddersfield Town had been shipping goals at an alarming rate before they signed Danny Simpson a couple of months back and the acquisition of the former Premier League winner has proven to be a masterstroke.

With that in mind, the arrival of George Friend at the bet 365 Stadium could potentially have a similar positive impact.

More Stoke City News

All in all, Stoke City’s interest in the out-of-favour Middlesbrough star certainly strikes the right chords.

Sayan Chatterjee

A Premier League enthusiast and an avid follower of the beautiful game... keen eye for tactical battles and love to discuss the financial aspects of football...other hobbies include reading, listening to music, playing FIFA on PlayStation, traveling, etc. Follow me on Facebook

Recent Posts

West Ham United vs Tottenham Hotspur: Premier League Preview & Predicted Line-ups

London Stadium will play host to an all-London Premier League encounter between West Ham United…

3 days ago

Chelsea vs Norwich City: Premier League Preview & Predicted Line-ups

Saturday's Premier League action kicks off at Stamford Bridge as league leaders Chelsea take on…

3 days ago

Are Coventry Going To Be The Surprise Package In The Championship this Season?

Coventry City are up with the early pace setters in the Championship in the 2021/22…

4 days ago

Spurs linked with Vlahovic as Kane Rumours Persist

When Harry Kane finally confirmed that he was staying with Tottenham for the remainder of…

5 days ago

Why Do Fans Still Care about the FA Cup?

The FA Cup means a lot of things to a lot of different people. Its…

7 days ago

FIFA Club World Cup: Your guide to what you need to know

The FIFA Club World Cup is a football tournament that takes place every year in…

7 days ago