Stoke City have reportedly agreed a deal to sign Schalke winger Rabbi Matondo on loan until the end of the season.
The Potters are in talks to sign the 20-year-old, but now multiple outlets say the winger will indeed move to the Championship in what would be a real coup with Premier League clubs said to be keen.
Among those reporting the deal are Bild and journalist Graeme Bailey, who tweeted: Stoke have agreed a loan deal with Schalke for Welsh international Rabbi Matondo. A real coup for Michael O’Neill – believed to have fend off Premier League interest…players want to play for him! They are going to be a dangerous team in the second half of the season.”
Yesterday, manager Michael O’Neill said: “The window doesn’t open really until (Monday). We’ve been working away and we’ve been working away for a considerable time to look at options.
“It’s very, very difficult because there aren’t many players available. The Premier League will probably not loan as many players to the Championship as in previous years because of Covid and bigger squads.
“It is going to be a difficult task to improve what we have in the building but we have to make sure we do everything possible.
“I think we need something at the top end of the pitch just to give us a little spark and I believe we can find it.”
Matondo was formerly on the books at Manchester City, where Michael O’Neill’s left-hand man Andy Cousins was a trusted scout and figure behind the scenes in the Academy before joining Stoke back in late 2019.
The forward moved to Germany two years ago for a fee that could eventually be worth up to £11m. By that point, he had already won his first cap for Wales – replacing Sam Vokes on his international debut against Albania.
He has made three appearances in the Bundesliga this season and was linked with Crystal Palace a few days ago.
Last year he was reportedly considered as a target for Manchester United and he has previously been mentioned with Real Madrid.
O’Neill has already been linked with Duncan Watmore, whose short-term deal at Middlesbrough runs out this month, Bright Osayi-Samuel, whose contract runs up at QPR in the summer, and Spurs youngster Jack Clarke.
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Ryan Giggs has said: “I was slightly surprised when he went [to Schalke], but he is a talent. If he is half as successful as (Jadon) Sancho has been so far I’ll be happy.
“He was really good with us in Albania [Wales’s last game in November]. I thought he did really well when he came on.
“Just like Dan James he has electrifying pace. And that always keeps you interested.
“Obviously after that you have to develop. If a full-back works you out you have to have that Plan B. But both are talented players who could hurt teams.”