Stoke supporters excited by transfers

Friday 25th July 2014 12:33

Bojan Krkic: Stoke City's latest summer signing

Bojan Krkic: Stoke City's latest summer signing

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Stoke FanZoner Tim Ward admits fans are daring to dream of European football again after Bojan Krkic became the club's fifth summer signing.

Transfer Deadline Day may be a little quiet this August for Stoke City.

The Potters completed four transfers before the World Cup had even ended and added a fifth this week, landing the former 'next big thing' Bojan Krkic from Barcelona.

Unsurprisingly, the transfers are giving Potters fans cause to be optimistic that Mark Hughes' can match last season's excellent ninth-placed finish in the Premier League - or even surpass it.

Since promotion Stoke have never been afraid of, sensibly, splashing the cash on transfers, but it has been to varying success - £5.5million for Dave Kitson, for example, was a deal that didn't exactly work out.

This summer, so far, the purse-strings have been kept tight, but the signings made have been sensible, ambitious and, this week, extraordinary.

Steve Sidwell and Phil Bardsley bring with them years of Premier League experience, giving the Potters some additional squad depth, with both signing on free transfers.

Sidwell, although in a desperate Fulham side last season, had a good campaign and was by far and away the Cottagers' best player on their way to the Championship.

Bardsley, meanwhile, had a solid campaign for Sunderland and gives Geoff Cameron, Stoke's USA international, some much needed competition for the right-back position - something Andy Wilkinson or Ryan Shotton can't really do.

Dionatan Teixeira is very much an unknown quantity, but he is young and is likely to play in early-round cup games as opposed to the Premier League. However, his presence is welcome in case Robert Huth has another injury-plague campaign. And he cost just £400,000.

It would be fair to say that Stoke's other early-summer signing, Mame Biram Diouf, didn't set the Premier League alight during his Manchester United career.

But since then, he has rebuilt his career somewhat in Germany with Hannover - and a return of 26 goals in 57 matches is a good return for a striker who is only 26.

The Potters were rumoured to have bid upwards of £6million for Diouf last summer, which was turned down. The fact we've now signed the same player on a free transfer represents some shrewd business by Hughes and leaves the move relatively risk free.

And then this week, Stoke announced the signing, on a four-year-deal, of Barcelona's Bojan, for a fee rumoured to be seven figure but nominal.

Stoke City signed Bojan Krkic. I'm still struggling to get my around it even now. Obviously, this is not the 18-year-old Bojan who broke through at the Nou Camp and was heralded as the next Messi, and some would say he hasn't come close to the potential he once had.

However, he has still won numerous titles and trophies - even last season helping Ajax to the Eredivisie title - and is only 23 years old. His best years are still ahead of him and some of the years are likely to be enjoyed at the Britannia Stadium.

Last season, Stoke shook off the reputation of the Pulis side of the previous five seasons playing quick, attacking football and hitting teams on the counter.

With players like Bojan, Diouf, Peter Odemwingie and Marko Arnautovic, with Oussama Assaidi also rumoured to be on the way, there is no reason why Stoke shouldn't be aiming to claiming their second successive top-10 finish.

Perhaps they could even even push for the top eight and a possible return to European football - yes, some Stoke fans are daring to dream a little bit.

Roll on August 16.

You can follow Tim on Twitter @timwardwrites - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too for links to all the latest blogs.

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