Stoke City questions answered on transfer panic and gem from Spurs
Transfer news and debate from Stoke City as Alex Neil oversees the start of pre-season training
Stoke City are ending their first week back for pre-season training but the wait goes on for the first signing to be officially unveiled. Matt Davies and Pete Smith fielded questions and debates in our weekly Q&A on our Stoke City Facebook page.
MD: No signings announced yet, is it time to panic?
PS: Well, we’re all hungry for breakthroughs but in the transfer department I’m assured it’s impatience rather than anxiety. It’s all in the balance isn’t it? It’s still a massive opportunity, and we’ll only be able to properly judge the window when it’s finished – possibly a long time after it’s finished.
We’d all hoped and expected one or two new signings to be paraded by now but getting it right outweighs getting it done quickly. This is such a rare chance to completely revamp the squad and you can’t waste it. They would know about it pretty quickly if they did
Tony Pulis used to be the master at brinksmanship and leaving it late to get the best deals. Alex Neil gives the impression that he’s at least towards that end of the spectrum. There’s a finite amount of money and it’s got to cover nearly a whole new team, nearly a whole new squad.
It would be a different story if all the best free agents and the best players who will be available to move to the Championship from the Premier League were all pitching up at other clubs but that’s not happened yet.
There are other factors too, particularly the change to the work permit rules. All of a sudden, Premier League clubs have lost a hold over Championship clubs – and vice versa to an extent – because cheaper options are available from further afield. That will drive prices down but it might take a bit of time to drip through
Is it a case of Daniel Johnson or Ben Pearson?
If you’re looking to make comparisons, Johnson is more towards Nick Powell. He’s played in a lot of positions and, if Neil carries on with a 4-3-3, you’d think he’d be a candidate for the number 8 role played by Will Smallbone in the second half of the season.
There’s no doubt how much Neil values the defensive midfield role though. It was about time that Stoke had a specialist for that position and Pearson made a big impact when he arrived in January, albeit that he was lacking match fitness and ultimately ran out of gas.
Could current players be leaving?
Just as the transfer market will pick up with the start of pre-season in the Championship and Premier League, you’d imagine that other matters will come to a head too.
Lewis Baker clearly wasn’t an automatic starter after the January window and at his age and with his status in the squad, it will be no surprise if he’s going to be keen to make sure he’s playing regularly somewhere this season.