Where are all these 'new players'?
Stoke fans are getting increasingly impatient as the summer rolls on and no new faces have yet arrived at the Brit.
Rumours continue to rumble around but, as of now, the Potters have nothing to show for all their behind the scenes work.
It's perfectly natural and correct that the club will want to keep their cards close to their chest and it's also expected that players' agents will be building up their clients' credibility by linking them to as many clubs as possible, but the whole process is infuriating for fans who don't have the benefit of the knowledge of what's really happening and have to rely (like we do as well) on the rumour mill.
We do know that Tony Pulis arrived back from his summer holidays in the Bahamas last week and announced that he was ready to start doing business. He confirmed that they had their list of targets complete, all they had now to do was reel them in. He accepted that he was disappointed in the lack of signings, but pointed out that we'd not missed out on any potential targets either.
But the only two new players that seem to be generally accepted to be active targets for Stoke are Rudolph Austin and Marton Fulop.
Austin is not exactly new news as the Potters tried to sign him from the Jamaican club, Portland United last summer, but were thwarted by the UK Government's refusal to grant him a work permit. This time around the defender has gained the necessary international caps and the clubs are said to have agreed a £1m fee, but he still may be denied an automatic work permit as Jamaica have since dropped out of FIFA's list of the top 70 countries, which is used as one factor in determining who can ply their trade in the UK.
On the keeper front, the Black Cat's boss, Roy Keane, would like to keep Fulop on Wearside, but now seems resigned to him leaving for the chance of first team football, but will be making sure that he gets full value for the Hungarian international. Stoke's original bid of £1.7m was quickly rejected and the Potters appear to have put in another bid of £2m.
With the first team squad officially due back for pre-season training in just a week's time, we're all hoping that Pulis will be unveiling some new names before then.
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