Relegation is a cruel mistress, bringing with it a raft of new challenges to overcome. Stoke City are in new territory too, possibly for the first time in their history they’re the big top-flight club dropping down.
When they first hit the Premier League they were ‘little old Stoke’, a team seemingly popping up from the lower levels for a year in the sun before sloping back off to where they came from. Tony Pulis saw to it that wasn’t the case and whilst it wasn’t always pretty, Stoke City became Premier League regulars.
Now, they’re the long-term top-flight side that have fallen on hard times. Their instinct will be to spend some money, build a strong side capable of bouncing straight back and earning the right to dine at the top table again. However, it is a balancing act, spending has to be carefully measured and the right characters must be drafted in to earn promotion.
They’ve started well by bringing in Benik Afobe, but he needs to be the starting point. So, who else do Stoke need to bring in? Which other players can they sign to ensure their name is in the headlines, not that of their World Cup hero Shaqiri. Here are three players FLW feels would benefit Stoke City and give their summer an injection of belief.