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.

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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.

Two Meter Peter, Super Jon or Mame? A tough decision

With Wilf finally finding his shooting boots against his old club Stoke and Mark Hughes’ gamble in signing a proven Premier League goal scorer on loan for the season is beginning to look like what it was all along, a shrewd piece of business. Since his arrival I have constantly stressed the important role Bony plays in Stoke’s attacking endeavours, his hold up play allows Stoke’s three Muskahounds to run past him and his selfless running creates the space for his teammates to exploit. Now with a couple of goals to his name hopefully Wilf can kick on and those who have been critical of his poor goal return can now concentrate on what he brings to the team.

But, as with every good luck story which emanates out of the Bet365, there is a downside, there is it seems always a downside at Stoke.

Both Wilf and Ramadan, who was equally as impressive against Swansea, are due to join up with their respective countries when the African Nations kicks off in January and up front this is going to leave the Potters desperately short of strikers able to provide the same qualities which Wilf brings to the team. In Two Meter Peter, Super Jon and Mame, Stoke are not short of attacking options but our recent successes have been built on a distinct style of play and its heart this style of play requires a lone striker in the Wilfried Bony mould.

As the mid-season transfer window approaches no doubt Stoke will be linked with any number of strikers, indeed the speculation has already begun, and as the January approaches I will look at some of these options in more detail, but before I do I want to ask who should Stoke let go to free up space in the match day squad for this new arrival?

Already it is evident that Hughes is happy to fill his sub bench up with two, and at times all three, of Mame, Two Meter Peter and Super Jon but if a new striker was to be purchased surely it is better for both the player involved and the club to let one of these three leave. The problem, however, for most Stoke supporters would be that each of these players have endeared themselves to the faithful during their time at the club and it would be sad to see any of them leave.

For me the safest of the three is Mame Diouf who, as well as being a fine make shift full back, is also going to be involved in the African Nations Cup, and so the choice comes down to Two Meter Peter and Super Jon.

Both players have been stalwarts for the club in the Premiership and I personally would be sad to see either leave but as a club we need to move forward and to do this we must be cruel to those who have brought us to where we are now. Whilst bankability should not be a consideration in today’s cash rich Premiership it has to be noted that there always seems to be admirers of Two Meter Peter and he would probably be the easiest to sell. He is also two years older than Super Jon and this fact is the reason why he would be the one I would release if, or hopefully when, Stoke identify the man they want to initially substitute and then to compete with Wilf.

Whilst Two Meter Peter gets my vote I would be interested to hear whether you agree with me, or whether you think we should keep all three at the club: