Sunderland, Norwich, West Brom & Stoke target defender in January

Sunderland are one of several Championship clubs who have been linked with Hibernian defender Ryan Porteous – but what are the chances of him moving to the Stadium of Light?
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The 23-year-old centre-back will be out of contract this summer and has turned down a new deal at Easter Road.

Porteous has also said he wants to test himself in another league as he tries to force his way into Scotland’s national squad.

Who else is interested?

Ryan Porteous has earned one senior cap for Scotland.Ryan Porteous has earned one senior cap for Scotland.
Ryan Porteous has earned one senior cap for Scotland.
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West Brom, Norwich, Watord and Stoke have also been credited with interest in the defender in recent weeks, as have SPL side Rangers.

New Gers boss Michael Beale has played down those reports, though, saying Porteous is a "good young player" but “not someone we've spoken about.”

Porteous also seemed less keen on a move to Ibrox, admitting to Sky Sports "It wouldn't go down too well.”

Sky’s interview also mentioned that Italian side Udinese have been linked with a move for the defender.

Will he be available in January?

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After Porteous turned down a new deal at Hibernian, the SPL club must now decide whether to cash in on the defender next month, or face the prospect of losing him on a free transfer in the summer.

Hibs boss Lee Johnson has said he has no concerns over Porteous' professionalism, but has admitted the club will listen to offers.

“We’re not shying away from the fact we will trade Ryan,” said Johnson

“If the price is right and there is logic behind the offer we receive – and to date I don’t believe we’ve had any offers – and we can justify potentially bringing in a new recruit or pushing that money into various parts of the business, then of course we’ll look to do it.

“We’ve got enough bodies, so there is a succession plan.”

What sort of player is he?

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At 6 ft 2, Porteous is effective in both boxes and has already scored three goals, two from headers, in 17 SPL appearances this season.

At the other end of the pitch, the 23-year-old has won 67.86% of his aerial duels inside his own penalty area, according to Wyscout, the ninth highest percentage for a defender in the SPL this season.

Porteous has also shown his ability in possession, often playing as a right-sided centre-back in either a back three or a back four. He was even used in a central midfield role against Rangers last time out.

The defender has made more passes into the final third than any other player in the SPL this season, averaging 14.36 per game, playing a combination of short through balls and long diagonals to the left flank.

Will he be a good fit for Sunderland?

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While Sunderland will be looking at targets in every position, centre-back is an area where they already have multiple options.

Danny Batth and Luke O’Nien, who Tony Mowbray sees as a central defender, have formed an effective partnership in recent weeks, while Daniel Ballard is almost ready to return from a lengthy injury setback.

Aji Alese provides a left-footed option, while Bailey Wright signed a two-year contract extension in the summer.

That’s not to say Sunderland won’t try to sign a young defensive talent like Porteous, yet there will most likely be other priorities.