One For The Money: Part 4 – Strikers
It’s been common knowledge for a while that Hughes always looks to buy a striker. Not entirely satisfied with his past and present choices of Cameron Jerome, Kenwyne Jones, Peter Odemwingie, John Guidetti, Jon Walters, Peter Crouch, Mame Diouf, Joselu and Bojan: Hughes was actively looking last Winter for a new forward man. Here’s some that could be at the bet365 Stadium this Summer.
One (For the Money): Saido Berahino
Safe to safe we’re definitely in for this guy… Berahino is a 22 year old frontman for West Bromwich Albion. He’s bagged nine goals and an assist in the 35 games he’s played for the Baggies this season, although due to a bit of transfer window drama (partly caused by us) he’s only started 17 out of the 29 Premier League games he’s played in this season. Hughes has made it publicly aware that he wants Saido at the club and to be fair, we know he can score goals in the Premier League when his head is clear; not to mention that he’s a young prospect who will only mature and also helps to fill the English/homegrown sector of the squad. However, we also know that Berahino is vulnerable to public scrutiny and other external factors which can affect his game, something that may become more prominent the higher his profile is raised. Another obstacle is that Berahino’s signature won’t come without competition from other Premier League heavy hitters. Spurs have also been interested in signing Berahino as well as a host of mid-to-lower-table teams. But the biggest threat may come from West Brom’s owner, Jeremy Peace. Peace has blocked big money moves for Sadio previously and may elect to do so again, although Berahino’s contract does expire soon, so this might just ease Peace’s grip slightly, but who know’s what price he will demand?
Contract Expiry: Jul 2017. Market Value: £11.25m. Expected Fee: £12-20m
Two (For the Show): M’Baye Niang
Niang is a 21 year old Senegalese-born French international who currently plays for AC MIlan. In the 20 games he’s played for Milan this season, he’s scored eight goals and notched 5 assists. Niang has played primarily as a striker this season, but he has also played on both wings as well, which makes him a very Hughes-esque type of player to sign: someone who can interchange with any of the attackers in their positions. Milan have previously loaned him out for loan spells at Montpellier and Genoa, but now he seems to have impressed enough to compete for a striker role with Carlos Bacca, Jeremy Menez and Mario Balotelli. He may have played more games for Milan this season had he not currently be suffering from an injury, underlining his quality to be competing with such players, especially at his age. His natural attacking game, his slick skills and his goal involvement could be enough to provide some good competition for next season and could even be that consistent figure Stoke are lacking up top.
Contract Expiry: Jul 2019. Market Value: £9m. Expected Fee: £11-15m
Three (To get Ready): Wissam Ben Yedder
Ben Yedder is a 25 year old French striker who plays for Toulouse in Ligue 1. Having played 38 games for his club this season, he’s scored 22 goals and has five assists. Ben Yedder does predominantly play as the leading striker but has also been known to play just behind another. Considering that he averages 2.5 shots per game, having a goalscoring record of one goal every 140 minutes of play is impeccable. Just imagine the further amount of goals he could have scored should he have had more chances provided for him! For someone with a goals/game ratio as good as his, he’s been slightly further under the radar compared to other frontmen, such as Alexandre Lacazette and Michy Batshuayi. This may make his price tag a little lower than other options that are currently out there at the moment, not to mention his expiring contract and the fact that Toulouse are currently embedded in the relegation zone with three games to go, and may look to cash in on their goal machine if they slide into the second tier of French football. This man has the skill, potential and price-tag to be one of the deals of the window, it’s just a question of where he ends up come September!
Contract Expiry: Jul 2017. Market Value: £6m. Expected Fee: £7-11m
Four (To Go): Peter Crouch
One of the most globally iconic players that Stoke have had in recent years: Peter Crouch is appreciated by pretty much every football fan, including myself! When Stoke joined the Premier League and Rory Delap’s long throws shook the world, I always thought that Crouch would be the dream signing. When it actually happened he was our record signing, and has been so until this season, and was extremely successful in his initial years in the Potteries. However: injuries, a new style of play and new recruits have all taken their toll on Peter’s starting position and let’s just say he’s never kept his discontent a secret. I doubt Hughes can promise him first team football any more and, as much as it saddens me to say it, Crouch may well look for a new club in a couple of months. The ‘he could still do a job elsewhere’ trait doesn’t fit anybody more than Crouchy as his ageless style of play could benefit a bunch of teams. This, his reputation and his publicity may yield a higher fee than any other 35 year old with a year on his contract may do. But after all, this is Peter Crouch.
Contract Expiry: Jul 2017 Market Value: £1.5m. Expected Fee: £1-4m
Written by Ben Rowley
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