Stoke City have announced the arrival of former Rovers loanee Taylor Harwood-Bellis.

Harwood-Bellis has joined the Potters on a deal to the end of the season, just as he did with Rovers last term.

The Manchester City youngster spent the first half of this season with Anderlecht, working under Vincent Kompany.

He leaves after making 19 appearances, but he failed to start any of their last seven before being recalled by City.

That was the same number of games he played for Rovers in the second half of last season, his first spell away from boyhood club City where he has made eight first-team appearances.

Stoke boss Michael O’Neill said of the signing: “Taylor is a young player who has already accrued valuable experience with Manchester City, in the Championship with Blackburn and playing at the highest level in Belgium.

“He’s very highly thought of at City and we are delighted to have secured him for the remainder of the season.”

Stoke were one of the clubs said to be in the running for Hearts defender John Souttar.

However, the signing of Harwood-Bellis comes as reports north of the border suggest Rovers are one of three clubs in the running to sign the Scotland international.

Hearts are resigned to losing the 25-year-old who won’t sign a new deal, but would prefer that to be in the summer when his current contract ends.

Sheffield United as well as Rangers are the other sides said to be in the mix for Souttar.