Michael O’Neill has one year remaining on his deal at the bet365 Stadium, and while assembling a competitive squad for the second tier there does appear to be a conscious effort to cut costs at Stoke at the moment.
The Potters have been very up and down as far as recruitment is concerned in recent years, and O’Neill explained part of their approach to this summer transfer window when he spoke to StokeonTrentLive.
He said: “What we sign going forward is very important and we don’t have a lot of money.
“In a way we have to be very select in terms of getting loan players or free agents.
“We’ve got Josh Laurent and Lewis Baker, two midfield players who we haven’t paid a penny for and we’ve got for the next three years.
“Equally we’ve got Gavin Kilkenny in, a type of player we felt we needed with Joe Allen going.”
Laurent and Baker feels like a very solid base to build from in 2022/23, with the lower expectations potentially creating a better environment for Stoke to work under this summer, hoping to spring a surprise on a few once the season kicks off.
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There are a lot of exciting individuals in the Potters’ squad at the moment, however in some cases it is difficult to see how they will all fit in together.
Jacob Brown had an excellent season from a personal standpoint last time around, and his partnership with Tyrese Campbell in the final third has a lot of potential, with time to learn each other’s skillsets in pre-season, they could be a duo to watch out for in 2022/23.
Baker was a huge player in the second half of last season for the Potters, with the former England U21 international demonstrating the class he has always had, despite enduring a difficult first half of 2021/22 in the shadows at Chelsea.
The Potters definitely fall into the potential dark horses category ahead of 2022/23.