Following a productive transfer window last summer, Stoke City looked set to be pushing for a place in the top six after managing to recruit some useful additions and offload those who were surplus to requirements at the bet365 Stadium.
They even managed to operate effectively during the winter window with the likes of Phil Jagielka and Lewis Baker contributing heavily to their cause already – and are likely to be valuable assets during the 2022/23 campaign.
Unfortunately, they were unable to sustain a promotion push last term but could be set for another bright transfer period this summer after managing to offload some of those that won’t play a big part next season.
Can you remember how much Stoke City paid for these 22 summer signings?
Tommy Smith, James Chester, Tom Ince and Steven Fletcher are all set to leave Staffordshire on the expiration of their contracts – and the departure of Ince could be particularly rewarding for Michael O’Neill’s side considering the former England youth international wasn’t likely to be on a modest wage after signing for £10m back in 2018.
Departing loanees will also create more space and though O’Neill is unlikely to have a huge amount to spend this summer, other players leaving will surely give him the opportunity to make his own transfer moves anytime from now.
We take a look at three transfers that could possibly happen at the bet365 Stadium in the coming weeks.
According to Alan Nixon, the Potters have beaten Derby County to the signing of centre-back Flint, who is confirmed to be leaving league rivals Cardiff City on the expiration of his contract this summer.
Although the Rams may have had a chance of winning the race with Wayne Rooney still at Pride Park, a takeover deal is yet to be sealed in the East Midlands and this has allowed the second-tier side to steal a march on their EFL rivals.
The 32-year-old is likely to be a useful addition at the bet365 Stadium following the departures of Harwood-Bellis, Moore and Chester with O’Neill in desperate need of more options at the heart of his side’s defence.
There are no guarantees Harry Souttar will be in the same form he was before his anterior cruciate ligament injury either, so fresh faces alongside Jagielka like Flint will help to provide more quality in this department and enable the Potters to operate with three at the back again.
25-year-old Rinomhota is another player thought to be on Stoke’s radar, though they face competition from fellow second-tier side Bristol City for his signature.
The midfielder has been offered fresh terms by current club Reading but they are currently restricted in what they can offer him because of the EFL business plan they are being forced to abide by this summer.
This could potentially put the Potters and the Robins in a good position to secure his signature with the Royals’ academy graduate and his representatives able to negotiate with other sides now with his contract expiring in under a month.
With Rinomhota potentially keen to sign terms with a club quickly to give himself the best possible chance of having a full pre-season of football under his belt, Stoke could potentially win his signature in the coming days if he opts to relocate to Staffordshire.
One reason he will be particularly keen to have a full pre-season is because of his injury worries from last season.
Although a one-year extension has been triggered on the 30-year-old’s contract at Derby, they could be forced into selling the right-back if they fail to get a takeover deal over the line soon.
This is an area O’Neill may want to address as a matter of urgency with Smith departing on the expiration of his contract and Tom Edwards remaining with the New York Red Bulls for the remainder of the 2022 MLS season.
However, they aren’t the only side in the race for his signature with Millwall also thought to be keeping tabs on his current situation with the Rams’ future continuing to look uncertain at this point.
Danny McNamara is already available as a first-choice option at The Den and that could potentially mean Stoke pursue Byrne more intensely. And with the transfer window open, they can make a move now.