Writer: Niall Cope
Date:Monday August 27 2012
After what was a rather drab 0-0 draw on Sunday against Arsenal it is clear that there are areas of the team that still need strengthening. Thankfully and reassuringly TP knows this and has already spoken of how he hopes this week will be a busy one. The signings he makes and the players he allows to depart will define what the season will have in store.
With Ricardo Fuller, Tom Soares and Salif Diao released and Danny Collins sold to Nottingham Forest it has freed-up space for the arrivals of Jamie Ness, Michael Kightly and Geoff Cameron to a team that still remains top-heavy.
Danny Higginbotham, Michael Tonge, Diego Arismendi, Rory Delap and Mamady Sidibe all remain on the books with no real prospect of playing more than ten games between them over the season. With talk of Maurice Edu (already earmarked to play out of position) and Huddlestone arriving, it would also raise questions marks over the futures of Glenn Whelan, Dean Whitehead and Rory Delap. Whitehead and Delap are both entering the final year of their contracts while Whelan has attracted interest during the past two winter windows, but no suitable replacement was found.
Kenwyne Jones was overlooked by Ryan Shotton against Arsenal and will most likely have his agent looking to get him a move away. The Trinidad and Tobago striker has been unable to dislodge Peter Crouch as Pulis` target-man with promises made to Crouch seeing his career stall. A move to Aston Villa to link up with his former Sunderland strike partner Darren Bent looks a no-go though after recent comments made by Paul Lambert.
Despite the positive vibes about new signings the interest in Michael Dawson is one that is baffling. With Spurs having already agreed a fee of £7.5million with QPR, such a fee would not be value for money for Pulis who is operating on a smaller budget at the Britannia Stadium. Combine Spurs` valuation, his recent injury problems, and with Matthew Upson a steady back-up to Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth, and it would be money wasted.
The full-back positions have been an area that have needed to be addressed for years and with Pulis bemoaning the absence of the injury-prone Matthew Etherington on Sunday, there are far more pressing areas of the team that need attention than the manager`s fascination of signing central defenders.
These last few days of the transfer window are vital for the club if we`re to continue moving forward. A couple of full-backs, a winger and a quick and creative forward are clearly needed to give balance to a team that have failed to create many clear-cut chances in their opening two fixtures. One thing we can count on, though, is that we will be in for a late night on Friday as TP wheels and deals.
Be Loyal Be Proud Be Stoke
Date:Monday August 27 2012
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