Stoke continue to buy young blood
After a busy transfer deadline day at the club`s Clayton Wood training ground what does the recent activity tell us?
In total, the door was opened and closed four times yesterday as Stoke secured two arrivals while letting two players depart.
The signings of American international Brek Shea and England goalkeeper Jack Butland are certainly ones for the future. Meanwhile letting Rory Delap and Matthew Upson leave will relieve the strain on the wage budget which will please chairman Peter Coates.
Whilst Shea could make an impact during the remainder of the season, Butland has been loaned back to Birmingham City to gain more league experience at Championship level which will aid his development before he returns to Stoke.
With Asmir Begovic expected to leave in the summer, the signing of Butland as well as Shea show how both Tony Pulis and the club are constantly looking to build on what has already been achieved. In the long-term, though, it`s hoped many of the younger players will come through the academy after substantial backing from the Coates family.
The arrivals of Butland and Shea add to a pool of players including Begovic, Ryan Shawcross, Marc Wilson and Steven Nzonzi who are all aged below 25 and secured to long-term contracts. Some may question what Pulis` 'three year plan` was, but I`m pretty sure that this was very much at the heart of it.
The manager has come in for criticism recently and rightly so in some instances about team selection and his approach towards matches, but what cannot be doubt is that he has the long-term interests of the club at heart.
Pulis` philosophy of leaving his transfer business towards the end of the window in recent years has certainly started to bear fruit and hopefully the same can be said in years to come about Brek Shea and Jack Butland.