Stoke’s Christmas Wishlist – The Men Up Front

With less than a month left to one of the most exciting days of the year, yes the opening of the transfer window, I thought I would look at Stoke City’s current squad and give my opinions where we need to strengthen. Finally, the men up top:

First Choice:       Jon Walters

Reserves:            Wilfried Bony, Peter Crouch, Mame Diouf, Bojan

Any Others in or around the first team squad?

Not really but then again there’s always Muniesa.

What about ones for the future?

Julian Ngoy is the obvious candidate but there is also Hakim Abdallah and Dominic Telford.

Do we need to bring anyone in?

Certainly, at the time of writing Wilfried has yet to prove he can reproduce his Swansea form whilst Super Jon and Two Meter Peter have both seen better days. Mame makes a good back up player but Hughes must surely be considering letting Bojan leave.

Do we need to let anyone go?

It all depends on whether we bring anyone in. If Wilfried was to rediscover his scoring touch and we managed to grab a fifteen twenty goal a season man then at least one of Crouch, Walters or Diouf could be let go, whilst I think Bojan’s days at the club have to be numbered.

Have we been linked with anyone?

It wouldn’t be a transfer window without Stoke being linked to Saido Berahino but waiting until he becomes a free agent in the summer would make the most sense. Elsewhere Daniel Sturridge has been mentioned but Sam Lammers from PSV has been mentioned and both Leon Bailey and Eric Choupo-Moting can play through the middle.

Any other business?

Making a decision on Wilfried has to be one of Hughes’ top priorities before the transfer window opens. Also the fact Mame, Wilfried and Ramadan are all participating in the African Nations cup makes signing a top class striker a priority. But then again this has been top of every transfer window wish list ever since I started supporting Stoke back in the days before the Premiership.

Stoke’s Christmas Wishlist – Attacking Midfielders and Wide Men

With less than a month left to one of the most exciting days of the year, yes the opening of the transfer window, I thought I would look at Stoke City’s current squad and give my opinions where we need to strengthen. This time attacking midfielders and the wide men:

First Choice:       Arnie, Shaqiri and Joe Allen

Reserves:            Ramadan Sobhi, Bojan, Mame Diouf

Any Others in or around the first team squad?

There is a rumour that Stephen Ireland is still at the club and as I have mentioned him in relation to every position apart from goalkeeper I wonder if Muniesa could play here?

What about ones for the future?

Oliver Shenton, Thibauld Verlinden and Mohamed Choulay are all exciting talents in the youth ranks.

Do we need to bring anyone in?

Unless one of the big two are sold this is an area where Stoke are well stocked with both first team players and exciting players pushing for first team selections and is an area I wouldn’t expect Hughes and his team to be too concerned about.

Do we need to let anyone go?

Bojan is probably the most at risk, especially as Imbula and Adam can both be pushed further forward. I would also expect a few loan deals for some of the players in the under-23s to be arranged.

Have we been linked with anyone?

Along with Alex Witsel, Stoke have been linked with Leon Bailey and Eric Choupo-Moting whilst Stoke City and the transfer window wouldn’t be complete without Saido Berahino being mentioned.

Any other business?

To hold onto Arnie and Shaqiri whilst also giving Ramadan more game time once he has returned from the African Nations Cup.

What If Glenda, Clumsy And Joe Are Not Available On Sunday?

With Joe Allen banned and our two main defensive midfielders, Glenda and Clumsy, both doubts for the trip to Watford, Mystic Mark is going to have to look long and hard into his crystal ball to come up with a solution. As always, like any good football fan, I have my opinion on who, and who should be given the three midfield berths on Sunday:

In an Ideal World                                           Glenda / Clumsy / Imbula

I know this may come as a shock as the Frenchman has been doing his best impression of Where’s Wally of late but with Joe Allen definitely out due to suspension this may be the perfect opportunity to discover if a sojourn on the side lines has given Imbula the kick up the backside he needed.

If Glenda or Clumsy is Missing                   Glenda (or Clumsy) / Muniesa / Imbula

Muniesa has the defensive nous and technical ability to shine as a central defensive midfielder and he has to realise he is nothing more than a “just in case” player in his manager’s eyes when it comes to his preferred position of centre half. If Clumsy and / or Glenda are missing on Sunday this is the perfect opportunity for the Spaniard to audition for a role I believe he is best suited and if he succeeds he could become a long term solution to Glenda’s aging legs.

If Both are missing                                        Be Bold, Play 4-4-2 with Muniesa and Imbula in the middle

Watford are going to play with three at the back which will mean Wilfried will have a torrid afternoon if he doesn’t get any support. Playing two up front may be a gamble, especially at home, but if the Ivorian had another to pressure the defenders Stoke could defend from the front. My choice would be Mame because of his extra pace which would complement Wilfried’s physical presence.

Shouldn’t Get a Look In                               Bojan / Charlie Boy

Surely Bojan’s career at the Bet365 is almost over. He was once easily our best player but ever since he got injured he has been a pale imitation of that player and if he was a beloved pet you would be considering putting him down by now. Stoke must put all sentiment to one side and let Bojan return to the continent where the slower pace will hopefully allow him to influence games like he used to do for us.

In Charlie Boy’s case I also fear his days at the Bet365 are numbered simply because Joe Allen has been such a revelation since he joined in the summer. It was plainly evident on Saturday the Scot is not even a stop gap solution as a central defensive midfielder and he deserves to be playing football regularly instead of making first team cameos and the occasional appearance in the Checkatrade trophy.