World Cup Hero Harry Souttar Is Headed To The Premier League - Men's Health Magazine Australia

World Cup Hero Harry Souttar Is Headed To The Premier League

The towering Socceroos star has become Australia’s most expensive player of all time following a $26 million move to English Premier League club Leicester City.

Even though it feels like it was only yesterday, it has already been 60 days since the Socceroos 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign came to an end. Bowing out with grace against eventual champions Argentina in the round of 16. Now Harry Souttar, one of Australia’s standout performers from the tournament, has earned a big-money move to the top flight of English football.

Souttar has secured a deadline-day transfer to English Premier League (EPL) club Leicester City for a whopping $26 million. That transfer fee is the highest ever for an Australian player, smashing the previous $14 million record that Huddersfield forked out for Aaron Mooy back in 2017. “I’m delighted to join such a great football club and challenging myself in the Premier League is an opportunity that I couldn’t turn down,” Souttar said.

There was a time when top Australian footballers flooded the EPL. With the likes of Harry Kewell, Tim Cahill and Mark Viduka among the many Aussies that were stalwarts on the league’s biggest clubs. But that was more than a decade ago. Souttar will be the lone Australian in the EPL once he makes his debut. Although there are a number of other young Australian talents signed to EPL clubs who are currently out on loan including Souttar’s fellow World Cup standout Garang Kuol.

Leicester City famously completed one of the biggest ever underdog stories when the club won the Premier League in 2016. Since then, Leicester has remained a competitive force towards the top end of the EPL table. But a recent downturn leaves the Foxes sitting 14th halfway through the season having conceded the joint-second most goals of any club. The Foxes desperately need defensive help and they’ll get it with the acquisition of the hulking 6 foot 6 Souttar, who has a chance to slide right into their starting 11.

It was Souttar’s world class slate of performances at last year’s World Cup that caught the eye of England’s top clubs. The 24-year-old was dominant as the backbone of the Socceroos defence. After a slow start against France, Souttar helped keep Tunisia and Denmark scoreless before giving the legendary Lionel Messi trouble in the knockout stage. The highlight of Souttar’s tournament was a last-man tackle against Tunisia that prevented a near-certain goal.

The World Cup has immeasurably boosted Souttar’s career, but the 24-year-old almost missed out on the tournament due to an injury. Having torn his ACL in November 2021, Souttar was out of action for almost a year before regaining match-ready fitness levels just before the Socceroos jetted off to Qatar. A lack of match practice didn’t prevent Souttar from putting on a defensive clinic on the world’s biggest stage.

Despite becoming a major factor in the Socceroos successful World Cup campaign, Souttar was actually born in Scotland and represented the nation at the youth level. With an Australian born mother, Souttar was eligible to play for the Socceroos and made his debut in 2019 only days after first setting foot in Australia. Although Harry switched allegiances, his older brother still represents Scotland internationally.

Leicester weren’t the only top team keen to acquire Souttar’s talents. Fellow EPL clubs Wolverhampton and West Ham were also reportedly interested in Souttar, but Leicester priced them out. Souttar’s new contract with Leicester will keep him tied to the club for the next five-and-a-half-year’s. With a chance to leave his mark on one of the best football leagues in the world, Souttar is eager to get going, “There are world-class facilities here and a squad full of fantastic players so I can’t wait to get started.”

By Cayle Reid

Cayle Reid is a fan of everything sports and fitness. He spends his free time at the gym, on his surfboard or staying up late watching sports in incompatible time zones.

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