Stoke City could well be an outsider for a playoff push for the coming season having made a number of shrewd signings this summer.
With the new Championship season on the horizon, clubs up and down the country are strengthening their sides with Stoke doing exactly the same as they bid to improve on two disappointing campaigns under Michael O’Neill.
The club suffered a number of injuries last season that did not help continuity as a number of key players were ruled out for large portions of the season, derailing any hope of a promotion push.
It meant Stoke had to scramble in January and that showed as the season progressed and fizzled out.
With the likes of Aden Flint, Harry Clarke, Josh Laurent, and Gavin Kilkenny brought in, O’Neill has plugged several areas that lacked depth last season with more expected to arrive at the bet365 Stadium.
One of those coming in could be Liverpool centre-back Ben Davies.
Davies has been left out of Liverpool’s tour of Thailand as the defender looks to secure a move away from Anfield. They are reportedly competing with Blackburn for his signature with a move likely.
Davies has three years remaining on his contract and spent last season on loan at Sheffield United. Stoke were linked with another left-sided central defender in Ciaran Clark, but the Republic of Ireland is seemingly on his way to Sheffield United.
Another potential incoming is Zander Clarke who has been linked with a move to Stoke following the end of his contract at St Johnstone. The 30-year-old spent over a decade at St Johnstone before deciding to leave and has been linked with a move to Michael O’Neill’s side.
However, a report from the Stoke Sentinel looked to quash talk of a move for Clarke with O’Neill reportedly happy with his goalkeeping department but it will be one certainly worth keeping an eye on.
One player who could be on his way is Josh Tymon who has interest in him from Leeds United and Rangers according to reports.
The attacking wing-back had an outstanding 21/22 Championship campaign and was one of Stoke’s most consistent performers, so losing the former Hull defender would be a huge blow.
The Stoke Sentinel revealed that Stoke are confident of keeping Tymon but could be swayed should significant bid come in for the 23-year-old.
Stoke are a side that will always be in the promotion talk because of their budget compared to other sides and will still need to recruit more this summer to add further depth and quality in key areas.