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Opinion: Why Stoke City’s imminent addition could have unforeseen benefit for the Potters



Championship side Stoke City are closing in on the signing of Reading midfielder Josh Laurent, according to a Twitter update from journalist Mike McGrath.

The 27-year-old’s contract at the Select Car Leasing Stadium expires this summer and with this, he has been able to enter negotiations with the Potters who look set to seal a much-needed addition.

With Joe Allen out of contract in the summer and not guaranteed to sign fresh terms, Peter Etebo likely to be offloaded and Romaine Sawyers departing the club on the expiration of his loan deal, this is an area that needed to be strengthened and Laurent’s presence will help to fill the void left by the latter.

Can you remember how much Stoke City paid for these 22 summer signings?

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Sam Surridge?

Not only is the ex-Shrewsbury Town midfielder able to play in a holding role – but also in an advanced midfield position – popping up at vital times for the Royals last term and proving to be a reasonably decent asset going forward.

With Mario Vrancic and Nick Powell two attack-minded players and likely to be effective for Michael O’Neill’s side if they both remain at the club, Laurent may be useful in a more defensive role, protecting Reading’s defence well during his first season at the Select Car Leasing Stadium when playing alongside Andy Rinomhota.

His versatility is one hidden reason why this signing could be particularly good – because he also showed last season that he can fill in at the back – proving to be excellent in central defence away at Fulham last September and playing there a number of times throughout the 2021/22 campaign.

The Potters have seen both Liam Moore and Taylor Harwood-Bellis leave last month and James Chester is also set to be released on the expiration of his contract, so there’s work to be done in this area if O’Neill wants to operate with a back three once more.

Another loan move for Moore probably wouldn’t be sanctioned because he only has one year left on his deal with the Royals and they probably wouldn’t be able to match the wages their league rivals are currently paying him, so a return for the Jamaican seems unlikely at this stage.

And Harwood-Bellis has been linked with the likes of Burnley and Celtic recently, so there no are no guarantees he will be returning either.

Connor Taylor and Will Forrester could potentially step up to the first team next season – but both should be given the chance to shine elsewhere temporarily if they won’t be playing regular football.

And if a decision is taken to loan both out, there may be a need to bring in another centre-back or two on top of new arrival Aden Flint, though there are other areas they may want to focus on including their right wing-back and forward departments.

This may mean they aren’t able to fully address their central defence situation and that isn’t exactly ideal considering other teams that play/played a back three last term were heavily exposed in this position when injuries started to creep in.

However, Laurent is one man that can step in if needed – and that may be important with O’Neill potentially wary of rushing Harry Souttar back to action too soon following his anterior cruciate ligament injury.

A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Why Stoke City’s imminent addition could have unforeseen benefit for the Potters

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