The Championship play-offs look out of reach for Stoke City this season but Michael O’Neill’s side have certainly made progress in 2020/21.
Smart business in the upcoming window will be important if the Potters are to continue that progress next term and have a chance of getting back to Premier League, which will surely be their target.
According to The Telegraph, Stoke are one of four Championship sides monitoring Kadeem Harris’ situation at Sheffield Wednesday.
The winger is out of contract in the summer and the Potters are thought to be open to signing him on a free transfer should that happen.
We’ve examined the potential impacts on Stoke should they land Harris in the summer…
A boost for Steven Fletcher?
Harris would not be the only player to swap Wednesday for Stoke in recent years, with Morgan Fox and Steven Fletcher both joining on free transfers last summer.
Reuniting the 27-year-old with the latter could prove a smart move from the Potters as they’ve enjoyed playing together in the past.
Harris described Fletcher as the “perfect player to have in the box” during their time together at Wednesday and he could be the key to getting the most out of the experienced striker.
The 33-year-old’s not quite been at his best yet for Stoke, scoring eight times in 32 appearances, but the arrival of his former teammate could help him kick on.
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O’Neill has switched between four at the back and a back-three with wing-backs this term, and Harris has shown he is comfortable playing in either system.
A winger by trade, the 27-year-old has proven a more than capable wing-back during his time with Wednesday and that’s certainly a boost for the Stoke boss.
Not only would he be useful in both setups, but Harris’ arrival would also mean that O’Neill would have the flexibility to switch between the two during games without making substitutions.
Filled the void left by outgoing loanees
Jack Clarke and Rabbi Matondo have both proven useful options on the flanks for Stoke this term but having joined on loan, the two 20-year-olds will be returning to their parent clubs in the summer.
Harris’ arrival would help fill the void that their departures are set to create, adding some well-needed pace to O’Neill’s squad.
Given the events of the last 12 months, clubs are likely to be working with reduced budgets so signing the 27-year-old on a free transfer should leave them with money to spend elsewhere.