Stoke must act before transfer window slams shut
The final days of any transfer window are anticipated by every fan across the country; grown men turn into bumbling idiots as there excitement grows for a night in front of the TV with Sky Sports legendary anchorman Jim White. The Scotsman keeps the whole nation on the edge of their seat with his excitable overview of all the transfer proceeding trying to be completed before Big Ben`s famous chimes calls an end to the chaos.
The end of this transfer window is even more important than normal if you`re a fan of Stoke City. After an indifferent start to the season, Stoke are crying out for a number of improvements in their squad that lacks little quality.
The mighty Potters are crying out for an:
Stoke last season were the lowest scoring side in the Premier League and this was mostly down to not having a creative spark in the midfield, and the fact that midfielders don`t contribute to goal tally. The Potters rely on their strikers to score most of their goals, the second highest in the league with 66% of goals coming from the forwards. A goal scoring midfielder is a must.
There are several options for Pulis in these final days but the one that is most likely is Charlie Adam. Having not set the world alight at Anfield and is rumoured to be deemed surplus requirements. Stoke have pounced on the central midfielder and the 26-year-old would bring a creative spark to the middle of the park, and the Scotsman isn`t scared of getting stuck and contributing to the cause with goals, scoring 30 goals for Blackpool and Liverpool since 2009. His set piece capability will also help Stoke capitalise on their superior height to most teams.
Other options: Tom Huddlestone, Stephane M`Bia
As noted before, Stoke were the lowest scorers in the whole of the league last season, only managing to notch 36 goals, which is less than an average of one a game. Pulis MUST go out and buy a proven goal scorer to help Stoke`s baron forward line. Peter Crouch is a proven goal scorer but finds it hard in the current system Pulis plays, but still managed to bag 12 goals last season, but his strike partner Jonathan Walters is just a work horse and will never be a prolific goal scorer.
There are several options for Pulis to stew over in these final days in this position as well but the most exciting option is Jermaine Defoe. A deal could be struck if Tottenham bring in their targets, but it could be a dangerous tactic for Pulis to wait on other deals to happen, especially with Stoke`s track record of completing signings this summer. Defoe would come to the Britannia Stadium though and walk into a readymade partnership with Crouch, as they both were at Tottenham and Portsmouth. Defoe has a proven Premier League pedigree and would be seen as a huge coup for the club.
Other options: Michael Owen, Marouane Chamakh, Nicklas Bendtner, Fraizer Campbell
I can`t remember the last time Stoke had an accomplished natural left back. Marc Wilson does a really good job at left back, but is playing out of position. A natural left footed left back would bring us more balance and more chance to overlap the winger to join in attacks.
Pulis has attempted to bring in Goran Popov on loan from Dyanmo Kiev but the Macedonian failed to grab a work permit. The capped one should look at Aston Villa`s Stephen Warnock, who is out of favour at Villa Park and would be able to settle quickly at the Brit without needing to get used to the league unlike Popov. Warnock is an experience player and won`t set the Brit on fire but his steady no nonsense style of play will fit in well at Stoke.
Other options: Martin Olsson, Goran Popov, Reto Ziegler
The club currently has three wingers which is an improvement on past seasons, but with any injury, just like the one to Etherington, the club lacks any real back up. Last year we saw the likes of Ryan Shotton, Cameron Jerome and Ricardo Fuller play out of position to cover on the wing, to little effect. The Potters never have any one that can come off the bench and change a game. A left footed winger, who might just be as back up would be a good addition to the squad at the Britannia Stadium and also keep the current wingers on top of their games.
There are several options for Pulis in this department. He could go for a natural winger or a playmaker winger that could also do a job in the middle of the park like Chelsea`s Yossi Benayoun. A loan deal with a view to a permanent for Benayoun could be a shrewd move by Pulis. The Israeli is a skilful player that could easily do a job out wide and would strive in the possibility of regular football.
Other options: Morten Gamst Pedersen, Liam Trotter, Lee Chung-Young
Whatever Pulis does in these final few days is going to be extremely important in the forthcoming fortunes of Stoke City this season. It could also have a role to play in Pulis` career path. If Pulis fails to sign any 'big` players that get the fans excited and then comes back from Wigan without a point, the supporters could be calling for Pulis` head. There have already been some grunts and moans in the stands, but on the other hand if Pulis brings in four great signings and 3 points from Wigan than us fickle Stoke fans will be looking at the rest of the season in an exciting manner.