Stoke City are reportedly leading the race for Chelsea’s forgotten player Lewis Bake as the star could leave West London on a free transfer this month.
His deal expires at the end of the campaign but the Potters are interested in adding Baker to their squad in the winter transfer window as the club fight for promotion from the EFL Championship.
Baker, who joined the Blues’ academy from Luton back 17 years ago, made his first appearance for his team in eight years when the midfielder came on as a second-half substitute in last weekend’s 5-1 FA Cup win against Chesterfield.
It was just the 26-year-old academy graduate’s second game for the London-based outfit, with his first-team debut also coming in the FA Cup versus Derby County in 2014.
The former England youth international was close to making the roster for the 2-0 Carabao Cup quarter-final victory over Brentford last month but tested positive for coronavirus.
Since making his Stamford Bridge debut he has had loan stints at Sheffield Wednesday, Milton Keynes Dons, Vitesse, Middlesbrough, Leeds United, Reading, Fortuna Dusseldorf and Lewis spent last term at Trabzonspor.
Michael O’Neill are eighth in England’s second tier, five points off the top six with one match in hand.