Michael O’Neill is hoping to convince Alfie Doughty his future lies at Stoke City after a bid was accepted by Charlton Athletic.
Flying winger Doughty, aged 21, is a man in demand as he enters the final six months of his contract. He has missed recent weeks with a hamstring injury but has been one of the leading creative players in League One, having caught the eye in the Championship breaking through last term.
Stoke tried to get him in the summer and are now in competition with two Championship rivals who have also had offers accepted. Rangers and Celtic are also lurking hoping to bag him for little compensation north of the border.
O’Neill said after today’s FA Cup defeat to Leicester: “We’ve made a bid for Alfie Doughty. Obviously there are other teams interested as well.
“We’ll speak to the player. We tried to bring him in during the summer, it wasn’t possible for us to get a deal done at that point in time.
“We’ll have to wait now and see. The decision rests with the player at this minute in time.
“He’s a young player who we’d like to bring in and we’ll look at other opportunities that may or mau not exist in this transfer window as well.”
Lee Bowyer had confirmed that Doughty will leave Charlton.
He told South London Press: “There are three Championship sides that we have agreed terms with. I expect Alfie will speak to all three of them. I think he should.
“Don’t just make a rash decision – he should speak to all three.
“He’s been really good. He’s not been knocking on the door. But this is football – these are things you can’t control.
“I expect him to be gone in the near future – I don’t know how soon. I think it’s now down to the three clubs, Alfie, his family and his agent getting together and seeing which one he prefers.
“That might take a little time, that, but I expect him to be going.”
Former Stoke manager Nathan Jones has also had Doughty in his little black book – but thinks that ship might have sailed.
He said: “We really like him, and we enquired about him in the summer, but I think he’ll go beyond our budget. He’s the type we like but he’ll go above our finances.”
Rabbi Matondo, who Stoke signed on loan from Schalke this week, made his debut from the bench against Leicester.