Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Friday May 16 2008
Tony Pulis has said that he won't change his way of dealing in the transfer market just because he has cash to spend.
For the first time in his managerial career, he has some serious money to spend after the £40m windfall that came with promotion to the Premier League. Having been used to scrimping and saving at Stoke under the Icelanders and in previous jobs at Bournemouth, Bristol City, Gillingham, Plymouth and a stint at Portsmouth whilst they were in the second tier of English football, being a prudent manager with the cash was a necessary quality.
Since returning to the Brit two years ago, he still has had to be careful, but has enjoyed a more abundant cash flow from the chairman's wallet than in his previous jobs. Now that the Potters have finally reached the promised land, don't expect Pulis to change the habits of a lifetime and he will still be looking at value for money as well as quality in any new faces he brings into the Brit this summer.
'That's always been the way I've done it, and that's the way I still intend doing it,' he told the Sentinel this week.
The club are remaining quiet about the size of the transfer budget available to the manager, but estimates in the media range from £15m to £25m and that would also have to include the wages of any new players as well as any transfer fee.
But the issue isn't just about how much money he has to spend, we all understand that he must spend it wisely and whilst Pulis has had notable successes in the likes of Ricardo Fuller, Ryan Shawcross and Liam Lawrence he has also had one or two that haven't worked out, such as Jon Parkin and Vincent Pericard. Whilst both these players were not critical to the success or failure of the club, an expensive mistake now is always a risk, especially as we move into uncharted waters for the club. To emphasise this point, Tony revealed to Radio Stoke that he just returned from a scouting trip in France looking at a player that his agent had claimed to be 'the next Drogba' and 'with a price tag to match', but turned out to be no better than the players he already had.
This time last year, Pulis made rash promises of early summer signings that never materialised. He later blamed this on potential players' reluctance to come to 'unfashionable' Stoke City, but it all came good eventually with some more good loan moves that turned into permanent signings. Whilst the Potters are now going to be able to attract the attention of those players who shunned us 12 months ago, we've now moved up a level and we'll still struggle to attract that better class of Premier League player who doesn't fancy the risk of a relegation dogfight at the Brit.
So, yet again, fans will have to be patient as it's likely that new signings of the calibre TP will be looking for will not be flooding into Stoke very quickly.
Date:Friday May 16 2008
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