Stoke City are facing a vital summer transfer window where they will need to add the right additions to their squad to kick on under Michael O’Neill.
The Potters are already starting to be linked with some players as they start to turn their attentions towards the areas of their squad that need improving.
One such player who they are already being credited with an interest in is Bristol City winger Jamie Paterson. According to Football Insider, O’Neill’s side are one of a number of Championship clubs in the race for him.
Paterson is set to be out of contract at Ashton Gate in the summer, and he is set to leave the club as per Football Insider’s report. The Potters are going to have to work hard to get this one over the line, given the likes of Nottingham Forest, Birmingham City and Millwall are also believed to be in the race for the 29-year-old.
With links to the Potters surfacing for Paterson, we take a look at ONE potential winner and ONE potential loser at Stoke should he arrive at the Bet365 Stadium…
Winner: Steven Fletcher
One player at Stoke who could potentially benefit from the arrival of a player like Paterson this summer is Steven Fletcher. The forward needs more service in the final third next term, having shown he can score goals if given the right chances with his nine league strikes in 36 appearances this season.
The former Sheffield Wednesday man is on a goal drought at the moment, having failed to score in his last five appearances since netting in the 2-0 success at Bristol City. The forward failed to register an attempt on target in three of those matches against Nottingham Forest, Preston and Birmingham City and he needs to get the ball in better positions to re-find his form.
Paterson is a player with the potential to add more of a creative spark for the Potters, and he has been averaging 1.3 key passes and 0.9 accurate crosses per game in the Championship this term (Sofascore). Fletcher might well be able to benefit from that type of extra service in games next term if the 29-year-old does arrive at Stoke.
Stoke City quiz: Does the Bet365 Stadium have a higher or lower capacity than these 18 grounds?
Loser: Tom Ince
It is already shaping up to be a very difficult task for Tom Ince to try and force his way back into favour at the Bet365 Stadium in the summer, following his loan spell with Luton Town. However, should Paterson be signed to provide another option to have ahead of him in the squad, then it would all but signal the end for him with the Potters you would imagine.
Ince did speak out about his potential future back in February and suggested that he would assess his options in the summer when he returns to the Potters. He was allowed to leave the club for a short loan spell with Luton in the winter window having fallen well down the pecking order in the first half of the campaign. His loan spell has not gone brilliantly, and he has made just five starts.
The winger has been out of action recently with an ankle injury, and that has not helped him make an impact on the side at Kenilworth Road. Ince looks to be a player that Stoke will look to move on in the summer, and if Paterson arrives then surely it would only make him even unlikelier to be in O’Neill’s plans.