Stoke City boss Michael O'Neill targets signings from Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs

The Northern Irishman has extensive SPFL knowledge due to his time as Northern Ireland manger

Michael O’Neill is eyeing players from the likes of Hearts, Hibs and Aberdeen to bolster his Stoke City squad.

The former Easter Road midfielder was appointed manager of the Championship side in November with the Potters sitting 23rd in the table. Before football was postponed, the team sat 17th.

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O’Neill is already looking forward to the summer transfer window, whenever that may be, and will be utilising his knowledge of the game in Scotland having watched copious games as Northern Ireland manager.

Michael O'Neill will target the SPFL for Stoke City signings. Picture: SNS

Young players, especially, are the targets with the hope that the financial attraction of England will play a part.

He told the Daily Record: “You can come up here and find 21 year olds who’ve played a hundred games and that’s quite hard to find in English football, certainly in the Championship and Premier League level.

“As a result of the financial struggle, clubs have to develop their own players and that means at every club, typically, there’s young players getting the opportunity to play first-team football.

“Those are the ones worth monitoring and keeping an eye on. We wouldn’t typically look at players who’ve been in Scottish football for a long time as we don’t see them as having the right profile.

“But certainly the younger ones are worth considering.”

Three teams, in particular, are of interest when it comes to players getting an introduction to British football before moving on.

“Scottish clubs can be a first stop for a player who comes into British football, look at the likes of Virgil van Dijk coming into Celtic,” he said.

“So there’s players who maybe come into Hearts, Hibs or Aberdeen and it’s a case of keeping an eye on the situation.”

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