This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more
Stoke City are among a host of sides interested in signing Peterborough United forward Siriki Dembele, according to The Sun.
The Potters have endured a relatively busy summer as Michael O’Neill continues to strengthen his squad, with Dembele now emerging as a target.
Dembele scored 11 goals and chipped in with 12 assists in League One last season, as Peterborough won promotion to the Championship.
But with a year left on his contract, Stoke, Bournemouth and Fulham have all been linked with the attacker’s signature.
The Sun claim that the three sides are willing to splash £2.5million on his signature, but Posh look set to hold out for around £4million.
Here, we discuss whether he would be a good signing for Stoke…
I do think that this could be a very good signing for Stoke if they manage to get it done.
There did seem to be a lack of attacking firepower to Michael O’Niell’s side at times last season, something they will have to address if they are to push up the Championship table in the coming campaign.
Dembele is someone who has shown in the past that he can both create and take chances in front of goal, with his ability to make things happen meaning he could be an exciting addition to the Potters squad.
Indeed, at 24-year-old, there is potentially still more to come from Dembele, and given the level of interest there is in him, this could be something of a welcome morale boost for Stoke after what has been a relatively quiet summer transfer window so far.
As a result, I do think that this could be a deal well worth pursuing for those in charge at The Bet365 Stadium.
Having not played in the Championship during his career, Dembele has a lot to prove wherever he spends the first half of the 2021-22 season and I see no reason as to why he wouldn’t fit in at Stoke.
Despite being predominantly a winger, the 24-year-old has adapted with Darren Ferguson moving to a winger-less system at Peterborough and was converted to a more central role – either playing with Sammy Szmodics behind Jonson Clarke-Harris or partnering the latter in a front two.
Whilst his finishing isn’t his best attribute, Dembele scored 11 league goals last season but his biggest strength is his dribbling ability and directness which would be tough for any defence in the Championship to handle.
Being converted into a more central player means that Dembele would fit into both of Michael O’Neill’s systems – if the Northern Irishman goes for the 3-5-2 then Dembele could play alongside Steven Fletcher with Nick Powell in behind but if it’s a 4-2-3-1 then he could revert to being a natural winger – but would have a lot of competition with the likes of Alfie Doughty, Jacob Brown and Tyrese Campbell when he’s fit.
Dembele would still cost a significant fee despite having less than a year left on his contract, but it could be money well spent for Stoke if they pursue a deal.
Quiz: What was the score the last time Stoke City played at each of these 24 stadiums?
I like the sound of this potential deal from a Stoke perspective.
Additional strength in depth in their attacking options could be exactly what they need to fire themselves into promotion contention this season.
Dembele could be the ideal player to challenge for a starting spot in Michael O’Neill’s squad, and if he can replicate the impressive showings we’ve seen from him whilst at Peterborough United in recent seasons, then Stoke will have an excellent talent on their hands.
Dembele is a player in demand though, with the likes of Fulham and Bournemouth also rumoured to be interested in a deal to sign the Posh forward.
Therefore, Stoke will have to offer him a regular starting spot in their team, as Fulham and Bournemouth are more likely to be challenging for promotion, which could make them a more tempting offer for the 24-year-old.