Writer: Tom Mckeon
Date:Wednesday August 24 2011
Stoke fans are beginning to get hot under the collar.
The squad is looking threadbare and it's clear to everyone we need new faces.
On the surface, it's frustrating, we've only signed two players and there's less than a week to go before the transfer window slams shut - but I'm 100% confident it'll be a great window for the club and the resulting season will reflect that.
Tony Pulis accepts fans will be frustrated, but maintains what he always has, telling skysports.com he will not be bullied into deals :
'I think everybody knows we have to bring players in - I don't think there is any question from the top of the football club right down,' said Pulis.
'Even the youngest supporters will be looking and saying, 'Why haven't we brought players in?
'But it is about making sure we do it the way we do it as a football club - that is very important for us.
'We'll do our business the way we do - we will be open and honest with the clubs we are dealing with, and once we've done those deals, we'll let you all know. We are hoping to bring some in if we can.
'We've got a wage structure that we want to keep to. We miss out on deals, and we have to be big enough to accept that.
'If supporters get a little bit disappointed with it, then so be it - it won't be the first time we've missed out on deals because we've said no.'
Personally, I trust Pulis more than I ever have in terms of our transfer policy, the way he does business should always be judged on how well we do in the resulting season and in the past 4 or 5 years we couldn't have done any better. The evidence is there, yes he's made some shockers and it's not been without significant investment but he's more than proved he's a bit of a wizard in the transfer window.
Every year it's the same, every year, according to many, we 'leave' it too late and that's all Stoke's fault. It really gets on my nerves when people slate Pulis because of this.
The fact is, if he could sign all of the players he wanted today he would do it! If he could ship 6 top players in on a bus today he'd do it this minute, but it's not that easy, this is the real world, not football manager.
We're in quite an odd(and privileged) position as a football club, we've pushed on more than anyone could've imagined and now in order to go onto that next step (I.E, Consistently challenging for top 10 at least), we need to buy great players.
Great players who aren't on the wane or coming back from injury will not join Stoke early on in the window. They'll join when(unfortunately), we're the only option they have. Wilson Palacios has been heavily linked with the club, but you can't blame a player of his quality and pedigree holding out for a 'bigger' move than Stoke and that goes for all of our top targets.
In order to get players in who will 'improve' us, they'll have to be top drawer and top drawer players will wait until as late as they can.
People have to look at the humane element of the deals that Stoke, and indeed most clubs in the country at the moment are trying to do - agreeing a fee is a minuscule part of a deal. And whilst it is easy for a player to commit to a 100k a week contract at Man City or Man United, a move to Stoke is still unfashionable and it takes a lot of consideration. I still expect Carlton Cole to sign for Stoke, but even looking at that deal - straight away you realise Cole is a London lad and a move to Stoke may not be so attractive as you immediately may think, even if he is condemned to plying his trade in the Championship this season.
I see QPR are looking to sign Joey Barton and according to reports they're offering him more than what he's currently on at Newcastle United.
A few Stokies will be thinking 'What, we've let him slip under our fingers, what are we playing at?!'
But then you take a step back and actually realise, if reports are true, that QPR are offering a good but disruptive footballer £60k a week, whilst Barton is clearly a good footballer he's not worth £60k a week of anyone's money and that to me screams desperation.
We're very stable as a club, we don't need to destroy our wage structure for a player of Barton's stature.
Sensible signings are needed and I have no doubt we'll be very happy come the end of the window.
Over the years we've seen the likes of Hull buy a whole new team only to get relegated and become financially ruined, and it seems like the transfer window brings a separate league whereby the teams who buy the most are doing the best, irrespective of the fees or wages they are paying.
I see Palacios and Crouch were left out of the squad for Spurs' game away at Man United on monday, so perhaps we might start to see some movement on a double deal, I think we all know Pulis wants both of them in though and it's encouraging we're looking to sign players of this quality.
Darron Gibson has also been nowhere near the Man United squad for a while now and it's all gone quiet on that one - I wouldn't be at all surprised if he made the move to The Brit.
Pure gut feeling is telling me Jerome, Cole, Palacios & Gibson are the most likely to join Stoke this window.
The only slight criticism I can aim at Pulis is that he's reluctant in doing deals for foreign players who are currently playing abroad, but you can't blame the man in attempting to buy proven players instead of splashing out big bucks on a player who'd be a risk. Perhaps if we're struggling in January then we may need to take risks but solid signings will do this year, we've got a very good first 11 and it needs padding out with quality.
Let us know what you think about Stoke's transfer policy, is Pulis doing the right thing or is it time he shunned his principles and budged our wage structure up a couple of notches in order to attract big names?
Who do you think Pulis will sign by the end of the window?
Date:Wednesday August 24 2011
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