Stoke City seem to have done most of their incoming transfer business already, and they’ve been very busy at bolstering their squad ahead of a play off push.
Michael O’Neill has used the loan market to good effect, bringing in Tottenham winger Jack Clarke, young Wales international Rabbi Matondo from Schalke and another emerging Welsh talent in Rhys Norrington-Davies from Sheffield United.
They have been joined by the permanent addition of Alfie Doughty from Charlton, with Stoke beating off a number competitors including Scottish giants Celtic and Rangers for his signature.
With a lot of business already being done, there’s understandably not a lot of gossip coming from the Bet365 Stadium right now – but let’s round-up all the recent speculation.
Major Premier League interest in Collins emerges
A mainstay in the Stoke City team this season, whether it be at centre-back or right-back, Nathan Collins is attracting interest from Premier League teams.
According to The Sun, Arsenal, Burnley and Crystal Palace are all keeping tabs on the 19-year-old Irishman, with the Clarets looking like they’re leading the race as they seek a long-term James Tarkowski replacement.
Considering he’s a key player in O’Neill’s systems, Stoke will not want to lose Collins mid-season, but a bid in the high seven figures – or even eight – could be seriously tempting.
Potters pushing for duo departure
As exclusively reported by FLW last week, Stoke are actively trying to get the outcasted Moritz Bauer and Kevin Wimmer out of the club.
Neither player have appeared for the Potters this season and are also eating up the wage bill, with clubs all over Europe being contacted to see if they want to acquire either player’s services.
It would be a surprise if Stoke wanted a transfer fee for either player, but with Wimmer contracted until 2022 and Bauer until 2023, Stoke may be stuck with two unwanted players on big money for a while longer.
Did Stoke City sign each of these 14 players for more or less than £1 million?
O’Neill delivers Clarke verdict
Clarke has arrived at Stoke from Tottenham on loan with a point to prove, after unsuccessful temporary spells at his former club Leeds United and Queens Park Rangers he needs to kick on in senior football.
And he’s impressed his new boss Michael O’Neill already in his short time at the club, with the hope being he will add goals to his game during the rest of the season.
“You can see straight away his ability on the ball. He can handle the ball very well. I thought he linked very well with Nathan Collins on that side and Joe Allen,” O’Neill told the Stoke Sentinel.
“That’s two very young players who handled it very well against two very good players on that side. It was a good start from Jack.
“In the three games since he’s come in he’s shown great quality and I think he can add something to us.”