Stoke City had a very productive transfer window as Michael O’Neill looks to build a squad that is capable of winning promotion.
Whilst it’s too soon to saw how well equipped the Potters are to challenge, the early signs are positive. The team have enjoyed a positive start, they currently occupy a play-off place and several new recruits have impressed.
However, perhaps the most eye-catching signing is still to feature, after Stoke concluded a deadline day loan swoop for Abdallah Sima from Brighton.
On the face of it, bringing in a 20-year-old who hasn’t played in English football before may seem a risk, but Sima has the potential to star in the Championship over the next eight months.
The forward had a very good return of 11 goals in 21 games for Slavia Prague as they won the Czech top-flight last season, and he also added four goals in Europe. One of those was a crucial strike to knock Leicester City out of the Europa League.
Such form didn’t go unnoticed, with a host of top clubs around the continent credited with an interest, including Manchester United and Juventus.
So, whilst signing Sima permanently for Brighton was a coup, it’s an even bigger one for Stoke to get the Senegal international playing in the second tier.
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His physique means he should have little trouble adapting to the demands of the Championship, but it’s his ability that will make him a star for O’Neill’s men.
Capable of playing from the right or centrally, Sima boasts good feet and has an excellent shot on him. Plus, for Slavia he had a tendency to find the right positions to sniff out goals.
If there was one criticism of Stoke in the past year or so, which was also evident against Fulham last time out, it’s that they sometimes lack the individual quality to compete with the very best in the league.
Sima isn’t going to change that all on his own but his arrival means the Potters have a player that can provide magic moments, which should excite fans as Stoke push for promotion.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.