Stoke City are in the market for fresh additions to their squad this month – one which has been ravaged by injuries this season.
A serious knee injury picked up by star youngster Tyrese Campbell threatened to wipe out any attacking spark they had for the rest of the season, but things are looking up again for the Potters despite a heavy FA Cup loss to Leicester.
With money seemingly ready to spend at the Bet365 Stadium and the arrival of Schalke’s Welsh wing wizard Rabbi Matondo already confirmed, let’s look at the rest of the speculation surrounding Stoke City in the January transfer window.
The 21-year-old Charlton starlet may be the most in-demand EFL player this month – and it looks like Stoke have won the race for his signature.
Rangers and Celtic had approached the left-sided player on pre-contract terms and there’s been competition from Championship rivals Bournemouth and QPR, but Doughty is set to sign for the Staffordshire side very soon.
If that’s the case, then Stoke fans won’t see Doughty in their colours until next season as he will be heading back to The Valley on loan for the rest of the 2020/21 campaign as he remains on the sidelines due to a hamstring tear back in October.
Speaking of left-sided players, the Potters are reportedly interested in League One ace Harry Pickering – who plays for Stoke’s neighbours on the other side of the M6 in Crewe Alexandra.
Pickering has struck up a reputation as a set-piece specialist for the Railwaymen, and the 22-year-old has notched four goals this season from left back.
That position has been a bit of an issue for O’Neill this season. Morgan Fox is currently on the sidelines whilst he doesn’t seem to fancy Josh Tymon playing there, and in a wing-back system Pickering would probably slot straight in there ahead of James McClean – who is naturally a winger.
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In terms of departing players, Ince is wanted by three big foreign clubs – Wolfsburg and Schalke from Germany and French side Lille.
Ince has been out-of-favour this season and even though he’s made a few appearances recently due to Campbell’s injury, he has failed to impress.
The Mail report that Stoke will sanction a loan move for Ince should the buying club be able to cover his wages – but they could be a stumbling block as they’re in the region of £50,000-per week.
With Ince potentially departing, O’Neill could be in the market for another attacking midfielder and he’s been linked with a move – along with Norwich – for forgotten Chelsea man Piazon.
The Brazilian has spent the last 18 months at Portuguese side Rio Ave, but Chelsea are set to terminate his contract having made just one league appearance in his nine-year stint at Stamford Bridge.
That will give him potentially a fresh start with another English club, having already had successful loan spells at Reading and Fulham earlier in his career Piazon has proven himself in the Championship, and would be a ready-made asset for Stoke.
A striker is what Stoke probably need the most, with summer signing Steven Fletcher the wrong side of 30 and not very prolific – he could also be out for a while due to injury.
And linked to the Potters this week has been Aston Villa forward Davis, who recently signed a new long-term deal at Villa Park.
He won’t be getting regular football under Dean Smith anytime soon so it would make sense for Davis to continue his progression elsewhere, and out of all the clubs linked, Stoke makes the most sense location-wise.