It is another vitally important transfer window for Stoke City, as the club prepares for their fourth attempt of winning promotion back to the Premier League.
Michael O’Neill’s side have now finished 16th, 15th and 14th since their relegation from the top division in 2018, but there is a growing emphasis on at least challenging for the play-offs for the 2021/22 campaign.
Stoke have been very shrewd in their dealings so far. Mario Vrancic and Ben Wilmot have walked through the doors at the Bet365 Stadium, with the former joining on a free, and the latter for a seemingly minuscule fee.
Since then, things have gone rather quiet at Stoke, but here are three of the latest transfer-related developments that have emerged from Staffordshire.
Peter Etebo’s departure
Watford confirmed the loan signing of Stoke’s Peter Etebo on Friday, with the 25-year-old not able to get enough game time to prove himself with The Potters.
Etebo, who arrived at Stoke from Feirense, spent the last two seasons with Getafe and Galatasaray and made just 45 appearances for The Potters in three years with the club.
At 25 years old, Etebo still has tremendous potential, but it remains to be seen how much game time he will actually see with the newly-promoted Premier League outfit.
Michael O’Neill reveals priorities
In an interview with StokeonTrent Live late last week, Michael O’Neill revealed that there are three areas that still need addressing ahead of next season.
The first being an attacking recruit, who can either operate with, or challenge Steven Fletcher for a starting spot. Also, the Stoke boss outlined that a right-sided defender is desired. Nathan Collins had the ability to fill in at right-back, as well as his preferred position as a right-sided centre-back.
The final point O’Neill made was that he needs to have game-changers on the bench, as he said that his substitutions did not make enough of an impact last season.
Stoke make move for teenager
Stoke made a move for 19-year-old Harris O’Connor last week, as reported by the Daily Record. The teenage defender rejected a contract with Rangers and is available for free this summer.
The young defender is now on trial with Stoke, according to the same report, but is also being monitored by Watford and Sunderland.
The centre-back, who can also operate at left-back, did not feature for the Scottish champions last season, but he did enjoy a loan spell out with Brechin City.