Why Are We All So Nervy?
We all seem to be letting our nerves get the better of us in this transfer window. It’s been just over 65 days since the end of last season and not a single new first team player has strolled through the Clayton Wood gates to sign on the dotted line. There have been rumours a plenty, with talk of signing Witsel and Subotic (just been announced as having a long-term injury, good call @stokecity) falling by the wayside, whilst the hype train for Sobhi and Berahino is still hopefully chugging its way to Stoke-on-Trent station.
In the three years under Mark Hughes the latest first arrival of the summer came on the 28th June 2013 when Erik Pieters arrived from PSV Eindhoven. That signing was made in Hughes’ maiden year as the boss, so a delay to complete a transfer was perhaps expected. In the two years since, our first additions have come just days after the respective season had closed, with Bardsley and Wollscheid arriving in the Potteries on the 22nd May 2014 and the 21st May 2015.
So with previous transfer windows in mind the fact that Hughes and Co are taking so long to make that all important first signing could be the explanation we need for the nervousness that is plaguing Stoke City fans social media feeds. Having said that, I think there might be a bit more to it.
We’re not really used to transfer sagas. Normally left for the ‘bigger’ clubs, transfer sagas always seemed to be quite entertaining. Two clubs toying with each other for months before finally coming to an extortionately priced agreement. Except, of course, if Arsenal is the club involved in the saga, in which case the agreement will inevitably fall through. The Potters are currently in the midst of two of the most stressful transfer sagas known to the footballing world for at least the last month.
First, Sobhi. The Egyptian wonder kid that not many know much about, but we do know he has a tremendous Egyptian following on Twitter, can stand on a ball during a game and has an agent with a broken watch. Since Sobhi was ‘set to sign in the next 24 hours’ Nintendo shares have doubled in price, there has been a military coup in Turkey and Elliot ‘Glorious Leader’ Hackney has dyed his hair Arnautovic blonde.
— Transfer News Live (@LiveTransferNew) July 13, 2016
One of only a couple of Hughes signings that didn’t pay off was Juan Agudelo, another player that on YouTube could look like fire, but work permit problems meant he never had the chance to savour an oatcake. Rumours are flitting around Twitter that the same fate will be felt by our adopted wonderkid Egyptian, with many Stokies not having a clue about which rumour to trust. Surely that random bloke with 81 followers isn’t in the know?
Berahino is of course the other saga that we would all love to see come to an abrupt end with Saido swapping the blue and white of West Brom to our lovely Macron emblazoned red and white stripes. Peace talks are never easy but the chairman of the Albion, Jeremy Peace, seems keen on making it as difficult as humanly possible for the 22-year-old striker switching to Stoke. It has now been all but confirmed that a £20 million offer has been placed at Peace’s doorstep, and as this was the original figure that WBA were thought to have asked for confidence has understandably risen that the Berahino transfer will be completed. However, there have been many twists in this tantalising transfer tale, who knows if there will be a few more.
We will all be waiting with baited breath for one of the two sagas to finally be announced as over.
Stoke didn’t really start the season well. Definitely didn’t finish the season well. And, apart from a few well documented games over Christmas, there wasn’t too much to shout about in the middle either. We all thought last year was our year, we had a squad bursting with talent in all of the right places, but it just never came together. Blame it on injuries, blame it on tactics, blame it on the fact you didn’t wear your luck socks to the games, the season just never felt like it got going. Not as much as we had hoped anyway.
And now that drab flow of momentum and strong feelings of discontent have continued into the transfer window. We all wanted that exciting new signing to stroll onto our Twitter feeds and reignite the feeling that we could be that club that surprises and makes a real push for European football. Everyone has a list in their heads of the players we need to make Stoke City great again, but, unfortunately, we are not the ones that are paid to make those lists.
As much as some of us like to pretend otherwise, Hughes and Co probably know a bit more about signing players the club needs than we do. Other than Agudelo it would be difficult to call any of Hughes’ signings up to now complete failures (Haugaard could be added to that list at some point soon, sorry Jakob). Despite the waiting we have endured for our first summer signing, the transfer sagas and a disappointing go at it last time around, for as long as he has been at the club Hughes has done a fantastic job of bringing in exciting talent. Trying to avoid sounding like a Match of the Day pundit as much as possible, he has completely changed the way the club operates, from possession football on the pitch to exciting signings off it. I am sure I don’t need to remind many of you about the complete reliance on deadline day transfers in the Pulis era.
I know we are all nervous. It’s good to be nervous, we are here to keep our club on its toes. But let’s all have a collective internet hug, take a deep breath, maybe even brew a cup of tea. Relax a bit and stay calm, it is all bound to be alright. In Hughes’ transfer policy we trust. Unless we have to wait another week in which case I’ll forget I’ve said all this and start moaning on Twitter again.
Let me know your thoughts on everything and follow my Twitter meltdowns.
Written by Ben Cartwright
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