Stoke linked with 'Scottish Messi'

Last Updated: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 10:33

Stoke and West Brom are ready to step up their interest in Dundee United youngsters Ryan Gauld and John Souttar.

Senior scouts from both Premier League clubs were in attendance at Fir Park on Saturday as Scotland Under-19 midfielder Gauld scored twice in a 4-0 away win for the Tangerines.

Gauld made his first-team debut as a 16-year-old in May 2012 and has since scored six goals for the senior team, featuring 14 times so far this season.

Souttar, also a Scotland Under-19 player, made his Dundee United debut against Aberdeen in January and has gone on to be a mainstay in Jackie McNamara's defence at centre back.

Both players recently extended their contracts at Tannadice until 2016, but that didn't stop West Brom's chief scout from travelling to Fir Park on Saturday to watch Gauld - who has been nicknamed 'the Scottish Lionel Messi'.

The scout left shortly after Gauld capped a fine display with his second goal, suggesting Albion are more interested in the midfielder who has just been called into Billy Stark's Scotland Under-21 squad and is also on Real Madrid's radar.

Rumours inside the ground on Saturday also suggested Stoke assistant boss Mark Bowen was at the game to watch both players.

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