One For The Money: Part 3 – Wingers
The wing is a position that Stoke have had very few recruits for in recent years. Marko Arnautovic and Xherdan Shaqiri are currently the only senior wingers at the club, with the likes of Jon Walters and Ibi Afellay occasionally covering in for them during times of need. As good as both of them have been this season, Arnie is yet to sign a new deal with the Potters and Shaqiri hasn’t come without his niggling injury troubles (although a full pre-season may solve this issue). It would be wise for Hughes to bring in some more players in such a threadbare position; and it might be a nice excuse to see some more young, big-future players at the club.
One (For the Money): Andriy Yarmolenko
It’s this man yet again. Yarmolenko is a 26 year old Ukrainian winger who plays for Dynamo Kiev. He’s played 33 games for Kiev this season, scoring 19 goals and providing 13 assists. Yarmolenko has been a long standing target for Stoke ever since Hughes took over the club, with the previous Summer being the highest profile pursuit of the forward; leading to a prolonged affair between wingers Yarmolenko, fellow Ukrainian Yevhen Konoplyanka and current Stokie Xherdan Shaqiri. Yarmolenko has a very prolific goalscoring and assist-providing record and has done for any seasons with Kiev and with his national side (23 goals in 57 caps), this obviously makes him very desirable if he can keep this record going. On top of this, Yarmolenko also is known for his blistering pace, his surprising strength and his devilish flair, often humiliating his opposing fullback before cracking a goal away. Previous pursuits have broken down before because of Kiev club President, Ihor Surkis; claiming that he would prefer Andriy to move onto a higher-profile club than Stoke. However Surkis has just revealed that Andriy is now free to leave the club (at the right price of course) and this could trigger a third Summer saga between Stoke, Yarmolenko and some crazy Ukrainian owners.
Contract Expiry: Jul 2020. Market Value: £18.75m. Expected Fee: £20-30m
Two (For the Show):Ousmane Dembele
Dembele is an 18 year old Mali/French winger who plays for Stade Rennes. He’s played 26 times for Rennes this season, bagging himself 12 goals and setting up five others. Dembele usually is a left-winger, but has played both on the opposite side and as the man behind the main striker this season. Hi goal record, considering he’s a teenage wingman, is pretty phenomenal (almost 1 in two games) and has, naturally, attracted much of the Premier League’s elite clubs. Besides his instinct for the back of the net, he’s known for his good dribbling technique and both his direct and indirect set-pieces. He’s also known for a lack of defensive contribution, however as a teenager this will only come with experience, awareness and improved match fitness. Although there could be big competition for the starlet, he may well just be the answer to Stoke City’s prayers.
Contract Expiry: Jul 2018. Market Value: £9m. Estimated Fee: £10-12m
Three (To get Ready): Nathan Redmond
Redmond is a 22 year old English winger who currently plays for fellow Premier League club Norwich City. He’s played 33 times for Norwich this season, scoring five goals and acquiring just the one assist. He plays the majority of his games on the right wing, but can also play on the left. Redmond has been known to score some great goals with his time at Norwich and former club Birmingham City and is praised for his direct, forward-thinking mentality. Despite being perhaps a slightly cheaper option than the previous two candidates, Redmond would certainly fill the void that Stoke have in the wing areas and could provide some good competition for the existing players and to whoever else may come in. Another good reason to sign Redmond is that we would also help fill the quota for homegrown players, something that Stoke are slowly losing out on due to the current incomings and outgoings. He’s also got one year left on his contract and could be tempted out of the club is Norwich get relegated this season. He’s also best mates with Jack Butland, don’t y’know?
Contract Expiry: Jul 2017. Market Value: £5.63m. Expected Fee: £6-9m
Four (To Go): Marko Arnautovic
This is truly, truly painful. Our top goalscorer and potential player of the season is yet to sign a contract extension, and it smacks of the fiasco involving Asmir Begovic and Steven N’Zonzi. My wish is that he remains with Stoke and continue with a club that he knows he performs well in and takes care of him; but the allure of Champions League football and a higher pay-cheque could tempt the Austrian giant away from here. The slight upside is that Marko has a buy-out clause in his current deal of £12.5m once the Summer rolls around. This may not be seen by many as a good thing, but it would nearly be as much as we got for both Begovic and N’Zonzi put together and would provide substantial reward for a replacement. The majority, including myself, want Marko to resign with Stoke, but there must be a potential plan drawn up in the scenario that he doesn’t.
Contract Expiry: Jul 2017. Market Value: £6m. Expected Fee: £12.5m
Written by Ben Rowley
Trackback from your site.