In this weekend’s news, Stoke City have been tipped to complete the capture of powerful forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting. He looks to be the one chosen to attempt to fill the void left by Marko Arnautovic, who left for West Ham earlier this Summer. Replacing a £25m player with someone who would arrive on a free transfer seems underwhelming; but I’ve had the pleasure of watching Choupo-Moting play live during his final season at Schalke and I think that there’s potential for Stoke fans to find themselves a new hero. In a world where the most expensive footballer has just been sold for £200m, could Stoke have solved a host of problems within the forward line with a free transfer? It could prove to be a very smart piece of business in a world of footballing madness.
Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is a 28 year old Cameroonian international who most recently played for Schalke. He’s spent his entire playing career in Germany and has never moved permanently for a transfer fee in his career. His professional career has included graduating from the Hamburger SV youth system, a loan spell at FC Nuremberg, spending three years at Mainz before completing his most recent spell at Schalke. Choupo-Moting has been known to play at striker and, most recently, on the left wing; he has scored 45 goals and notched 22 assists in 204 Bundesliga appearances. He’s also represented Cameroon 43 times, scoring 13 goals in the process and appearing in two World Cups.
Josh Tymon put pen to paper with Stoke today, having turned down a professional deal at Hull City who have had him on their books for six years.
The 18-year-old left back pushed through the youth ranks, playing in the under-18’s at aged just 15 and the under 21’s during the 2015/16 season.
The transfer window only officially opened on Saturday, yet the Premier League has already been teeming with transfer business across many clubs. Stoke City haven’t quite followed that particular trend, with the cost-free arrival of Darren Fletcher being the only deal made by the Potters. There has been promise of a major squad shake-up and an ambition to lower the average age of the squad. This ambition is gradually translating into links with individual players and, as players return from their holidays and back to training, there’s been no better time to get excited for some transfer window action. This mini-series will cover some of the players Stoke have been linked with so far, their traits and abilities and give you enough information to decide whether it’s time to fuel your transfer window fires.
The future of Stoke’s defence has been an uncertain one. Last season, Bruno Martins Indi was an essential piece to the defensive puzzle, although Stoke have yet to agree a fee to make the Dutchman’s move permanent. The future of Ryan Shawcross is also relatively uncertain: although expressing his desire to stay at the club, rumours continue to rumble and there’s no guarantee that the current skipper will be at Stoke next season. Stoke’s fullbacks have also been a cause for concern. With their ages ever increasing and last season’s performances on the whole underwhelming, it would be no surprise that they will be replaced this Summer. It’s no coincidence that Stoke have been linked with defenders aplenty, so let’s dive in…
So, another transfer window has come and gone and it’s been a rollercoaster ride for Stoke City fans. Excitement, patience, impatience, anger, joy: just some of the emotions that have been rattling around the fanbase for the last couple of months. Add in the mixed emotions caused by Stoke’s start to the Premier League season and it’s been a window which I’m more than happy to see the back of, even though it’s been one of the more entertaining in recent years. Fans have had their requirements, fans have had their desires but, at the end of the day, it’s down to the club and the manager as to who’s in or out at the club. Looking back at the last two months of madness, it’s been a bit more familiar than you probably think.
Stoke in the transfer window is a bit of a double-edged sword. We can sign worldies such as Bojan and Shaqiri and then we can sign players who fail to impress, mostly being Brek Shea and to some extent Joselu. With us being linked to a number of players I intend to use my extensive experience of refreshing twitter and guesswork to try and figure out who we will sign.
There are two positions in which Stoke need improving; in defence and up the top with a prolific striker. Looking at defence first, Phil Jones the gurning Manchester United centre back has been linked with us for a number of days with papers saying a loan deal is in the air. But he seems reluctant to leave the Manchester outfit for the windy realms of the Potteries.
Oh boy oh boy, it’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, and what an amazing one to come back with. Late last night German newspaper Bild broke a story reporting that Stoke have made a bid for promising winger Christian Pulisic. For those that aren’t familiar with the American through Football Manager or watching the Bundesliga let’s look at der BVB’s most exciting talent.
At only 17 Pulisic is one of the hottest, if not the hottest, under 18 talents in Europe. A pacey and talented attacking midfielder who is comfortable across all 3 attacking midfield positions. Pulisic will often be seen dribbling at the defence or breaking in behind, and with an eye for goal he has an astoundingly prolific youth record. In January 2015 Dortmund came calling and the American made his way across the Atlantic to join up with their under 17 squad. He developed over the spring and in the summer of 2015 earned a promotion to the under 19 squad.
Does this one count as out of the blue? Stoke was fleetingly linked with the player last month, but it was nothing so serious that the major outlets picked up on the story and within a few days it was once again silent. So today when news broke that we had seen a fee of £250k agreed for the 19-year-old centre back you could be forgiven for thinking it a story from nowhere.
Currently playing for Wimbledon the youngster has been linked with moves to the likes of Spurs in the recent past, so for Stoke to seemingly nab the defender as our third signing of the summer could be seen as somewhat of a coup (Providing he hasn’t done something to turn off the attentions of those bigger clubs).
Last week I wrote an article that attempted to calm the nerves following a somewhat difficult start to the transfer window. At that point no new signings had arrived, Arnie wanted to leave home and many Stoke fans were seemingly on the edge of losing their sanity.
Since then Monday 25th July happened. A Monday that I will now denote as the Manic Monday to end all Manic Monday’s. Sobhi was confirmed, Allen and his chickens signed on the dotted line and Arnautovic had found his potential new club in the form of Everton FC. In the aftermath of all that Arnie has realised that the Toffees finished a whole two places below the mighty Potters and a whole 8 places below his desired Champions League spot, so he may as well stay at home with us. Mission accomplished.
And now, after 151 words, I can finally come to my point. We don’t need to sign anyone else. Why bother. The main issues going into the window for me were holding down Arnie with a long term contract, a defensive midfielder to cover and takeover from the ever present Mr Whelan and another winger to take the pressure off Shaqiri and our favourite Austrian. Sorted.
Allen the Dragon about to become a Potter
Stoke look to be close to securing some defensive midfield depth as it was confirmed on Wednesday night that a fee has been agreed between Liverpool and the Potters for Joe Allen. The Welsh Pirlo, The Welsh Xavi, Jesus, call him what you will but Allen looks to be in the dropzone at Liverpool and Stoke are looking to catch him. If reports are to be believed, Stoke have shunted Swansea away from re-signing their former player but could face late competition if the Swans match or better the £13m asking price.
Allen is 26 years old who grew up through the ranks and leagues at Swansea before following boss Brendan Rodgers to Liverpool in 2012 for £16.5m. Allen’s association with Rodgers ended last season as Jurgen Klopp became manager before he could get over his early season injury trouble. Clearly Jurgen was not as big a fan as Rodgers was, as last season Allen featured in 19 league games for the reds (starting just 8) and grabbed two goals and one assist in that time. However, Allen quickly burst into the spotlight this season during Wales’ campaign at this Summer’s European Championships. He helped his country to reach the semi-finals in the competition and also features in UEFA’s Team of the Tournament, picked ahead of several midfield behemoths such as Paul Pogba. Despite this gleaming accolade and Klopp saying he’d like to keep Allen, he seems like dead metal over on Merseyside and the club seem to be looking to replace him.
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.