Stoke City made a poor start to the Championship season, but results have improved significantly since Michael O’Neill took charge of the club.
The Potters are now out of the relegation zone, but O’Neill will still be looking to strengthen his squad in the transfer market this month, in order to give his side the best possible chance of avoiding the drop.
Sky Sports claim that Stoke are one of several Championship clubs hoping to sign Tottenham Hotspur winger Jack Clarke on loan for the second half of the season,
The 19-year-old spent the first half of the season on loan at Leeds United, but after struggling for game time at Elland Road, he was recalled by Tottenham.
Spurs are now hoping to send the highly-rated teenager out on loan again in the hope that he will find regular first-team football and a number of Championship sides are thought to have expressed an interest in signing him.
Sky Sports are reporting that Stoke, Queens Park Rangers, Millwall and Middlesbrough are all interested in taking Clarke on loan, while Football Insider claim that Middlesbrough, Fulham, Swansea City and Nottingham Forest are also keen.
Here are TWO potential knock-on effects at Stoke if the club were to sign Clarke this month…
Tom Ince losing his place in the starting XI
Tom Ince has really struggled for Stoke so far this season, scoring one goal in 22 Championship appearances. He’s unquestionably a talented player, but his performances so far this season have been very disappointing.
Like a lot of the Stoke players, he appears to be suffering from a lack of confidence and he’s without a goal for the club since the start of August.
Despite his proven quality and experience at this level, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see to him getting his Stoke career back on track.
If Stoke were to sign an exciting young talent like Clarke in the transfer window, Ince could potentially lose his place in the starting XI.
More depth in attacking areas
Clarke is an exciting and talented young player, but he needs to experience regular first-team football in order for him to realise his full potential.
QUIZ: Can you name the last 13 Stoke City players to wear the number 9 shirt?
Spurs are understood to want assurances that Clarke will get regular game, so if he does sign for Stoke, it’s likely that he will start matches.
Stoke could do with a bit more depth in certain attacking areas, so his signing will provide some competition for the likes of Ince and James McClean, which can only be a good thing for O’Neill.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.