Stoke City have not had the most exciting of seasons as they currently sit 14th in the league.
The Potters have been under the management of Michael O’Neill this year and as we enter the summer transfer window, the boss will be looking at how he can strengthen his side so they are able to compete higher up the league next season.
However, O’Neill has a harder task to achieve this for next season, as he will have to use the free agent market due to his side being under the restraints of Financial Fair Play.
O’Neill knows he can achieve this as he told Stoke-on-Trent Live: “This squad is made up of older players who are free agents, it’s made up of younger players who were at the club who we’ve brought through and it’s made up of loan players. That’s the nature of our squad and next season’s squad will be the same.”
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There are a number of attractive prospects in the free agent market this summer from the Championship across the field, so it’s not an impossible task, but it will require a lot of work from the Stoke boss and his recruitment team, as they will want to make sure they are in there first for players who will add to the team.
O’Neill admitted: “We’re not in a position where we are going to go out and sign players. We can’t do that. We have to try sometimes with loan players and sometimes they’ll come and do well and sometimes not do so well. That pattern exists as every club in the Championship.
“We know what’s required. It’s about finding the right players, players who want to step up and deal with the situation and drive the club forward.”
The way Stoke have to approach the summer transfer window is not ideal and not what they would’ve hoped for getting maximum success next season but unfortunately for them, it is the situation they find themselves in.
O’Neill has been able to create a squad for this season and has done okay with them, so hopefully he will now have more of an idea about the players he wants to be looking at for next season.
There are a number of strong players on the market as free agents this summer but if Stoke are looking to go for any of these players, they will need to be prepared to go in early to make sure they get in there in time.
Although the Potters have a tough task on their hands, they can still build a squad strong enough to compete.