Stoke City will be hoping they can challenge for promotion back into the Premier League this term, whilst under the watchful eye of Michael O’Neill.
The Potters finished 14th in the Championship table last term, and showed glimpses of their quality, albeit not on a consistent-enough basis.
It could be an interesting few weeks ahead, as they look to prepare for the upcoming Championship season, with O’Neill already being active in the summer transfer window.
The likes of Ben Wilmot, Jack Bonham and Mario Vrancic have all arrived at the bet365 Stadium, in what could turn out to be a shrewd bit of transfer business.
Michael O’Neill’s side are set to take on Reading in their opening match of the 2021/22 season, in what is likely to be a tricky test against the Berkshire-based side.
We take a look at TWO free-agents who should be on Stoke City’s transfer radar this summer.
The former Sheffield Wednesday defender is currently a free-agent since leaving them at the end of the 2020/21 season, after they were relegated from the Championship.
Lees made 274 appearances for the Owls in total, after signing for the club back in 2014, having previously been on the books with Leeds United earlier in his career.
Stoke have recently sold Nathan Collins to Premier League side Burnley, and so additional strength in depth is needed in Michael O’Neill’s defensive options.
It would be somewhat of a risk-free move for Stoke if they signed Lees, as he’d be on lower wages than he was with Sheffield Wednesday, and he’s got experience of playing in the Championship regularly.
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Hoilett is a free-agent after his spell with Cardiff City reached a conclusion at the end of the 2020/21 season, and he’ll be eager to find a new club before the new league campaign gets underway.
Hoilett has experience of playing in both the Premier League and the Championship, and at the age of 31, he’ll still feel as though he can perform to a high standard in the second-tier this term.
Middlesbrough are rumoured to be interested in a deal to sign Hoilett though, so if Stoke were to make their move for him, they’ll have to act swiftly.
Additional strength in depth and competition for places is never a bad dilemma to have for a manager, and Hoilett could be worth a punt for the Potters this summer.