Stoke City had a relatively successful last season, and this time it was always about consolidating on what they have already built in the last few seasons.
Ever since Mark Hughes came into regime at the Britannia Stadium, the Potter’s philosophy started to change from a stubborn, more defensive and more physical at the time of Tony Pulis to more fluent, more direct and more attacking brand of football.
Till now, Stoke have signed 7 players in the transfer window, while they had to let go 2 of their players. The most noticeable departure was of the Bosnian Goal Keeping ace Asmir Begovic, who joined Champions Chelsea as the replacement for departing Cech. His departure makes sense as young Jack Butland, who is being tipped as the next big thing is already in their ranks, and they also included young Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel in the deal, who arrived at the Britannia Stadium for a season long loan.
One major signing for the Potter’s this time around is the purchase a 25 year old Spanish Striker Joselu from German club Hannover 96 for the fee of £5.9 Million. Joselu is an ex Real Madrid player who had a decent season with the German side, and seems like a backup replacement for Mame Biram Diouf, who had a more than a decent 1stseason at the Britannia Stadium and for ageing Crouch. Joselu is a 6ft 3in striker, who is great on the aerial balls and have good pace to stretch most defensive lines. He won 188 aerial duels last season for the German side, which was more than any player achieved in the Premier Leaguer Last season.
Stoke signed 2 Goal Keepers, one experienced in Shay Given who signed from Aston Villa after a loan spell out at Middlesbrough last season and one in young Danish Haugard from FC Midtylland. Realistically, Shay Given is being signed to play as a 2ndchoice Goal Keeper, whereas Haugard is being signed as a long term project.
In the defensive line, Stoke signed former Liverpool right back Glen Jhonson for free, which is a great bargain after his contract ran out of time with Anfield side. They also signed Philip Wollscheid from Bayer Leverkusen on 3 year deal after a successful loan spell with Potter’s in the 2nd half of the last season.
The biggest disappointment for the Potter’s throughout the transfer window was the Shaqiri transfer saga, where Stoke nearly signed former Bayern and Swiss international Xerdan Shaqiri from Inter, but missed out on him after the club and the player could not reach the agreement. There were reports that Inter accepted a bid of £12 Million for the Swiss winger, but the player could not reach the agreement with the club after discussion with the manager Mark Hughes, who later said that “I went out and spoke to Shaqiri. We had a good chat. We needed to establish whether a deal could get done and we didn’t sense that.
“Maybe it is one that could be revisited, but I would say that it is probably not likely to happen. We have other targets now.”
Had that deal been agreed, Stoke would emerge as a real success story in this Transfer Window. However, Potter’s progress have been reasonably impressive, as the club and the manager tried to cover as many areas as possible. Mark Hughes signed a striker, who would provide a cover to Diouf and ageing Crouch, as well as found a right back who is in his early 30’s and can still offer a lot to a mid – table club. Hughes had also signed 2 centre backs to increase options as well as 2 Goal Keepers, who provide cover for Jack Butland in the short and long run. In Van Ginkel, Stoke has managed to grab one very promising young talent, and Hughes will hope to have an improved season this time around.
The article originally appeared on Playingfor90.com.