Stoke City have enquired about the possibility of signing West Brom forward Karlan Grant on loan this January, TEAMtalk understands.
Stoke are desperately struggling at the bottom of the Championship, winning just one of their six games since the World Cup break. That’s seen them slip to 20th, just four points above third-bottom Huddersfield who have a game in hand.
They have hardly inspired confidence of a resurgence with their business so far this January either. Indeed, they’ve waved goodbye to Liam Delap, Joe Bursik, Harry Clarke and Tarique Fosu from their squad and as yet, have failed to add a single new face.
Manager Alex Neil explained his thinking in his Friday press conference ahead of the home clash against Reading, however, and stressed his confidence that Stoke will ultimately end the month with a stronger squad than they started it.
“The fact is at the moment, the players that are leaving the club right now and going elsewhere, I need to make space to bring players in,” Neil said. “If I don’t I can’t bring anyone else in.
“It frees up some loan spots for us to go and try to be active in the market to try to improve our squad.
“We are slightly vulnerable at the moment because we’ve had to be. If I had my way we would be bringing someone in and then letting someone out the next day, but what happens in realistic terms is that I’ve got a deal set up for some of these and I’m trying to get deals over the line to get people in, but they are getting delayed by things I can’t control and clubs are saying to me, ‘If you don’t let him come right now we’ll go elsewhere.’
“So I either clear the decks right now and get lads out to play football somewhere else and free up slots for me or I decide that’s too much of a risk and I keep them and I can’t get players in anyway. That’s the decision I’ve had to make.
“In my opinion the best thing for us to do, because we need to get some fresh faces in the building, is to let these lads go so I can create space for us to bring people in. That’s where we’re currently are.”
Stoke make their move for Karlan Grant
Links to incoming players have been fairly thin on the ground. However, Leicester City goalkeeper Daniel Iversen, who Neil previously had on loan at Preston, is known to be his top goalkeeping target.
Elsewhere, reports on Friday have linked the Potters with QPR frontman, Lyndon Dykes. The 27-year-old is said to have been the subject of a failed offer from Millwall totalling £3m.
Stoke may require Harry Souttar to move this month to fund such a move themselves. Neil admitted “that might be taken out of my hands at some point” amid reports of a bid from Leicester.
But in the meantime, TEAMtalk has learned Stoke have enquired about the availability of Baggies striker Karlan Grant.
The 25-year-old has just returned from injury and could feature for West Brom in Friday night’s top-of-the-table clash with Burnley.
Grant has scored only three Championship goals in 13 starts and seven substitute appearances so far this season.
However, and with Albion linked with two strikers – South Korea’s Cho Gue-Sung and Brighton’s Deniz Undav – Stoke have been in touch about the possibility of a loan move.
Where would Grant play?
Neil is looking to replace Delap, who he allowed to move on, but Grant’s best performances have generally come as a wide forward rather than a central striker, which is where Stoke would appear to be most lacking.
However, Grant has previously scored 19 at Championship level with Huddersfield in the 2019-20 campaign, then 18 for the Baggies in the 2021-22 season. Neil will be acutely aware of the need to add goals to a team that he acknowledged have problems at both ends of the pitch.
“We’re a threat, looking like we should score, we’ve got better territory and better pressure, more crosses into the box and more final third entries,” said the Scot earlier on Friday.
“A lot of the stuff we are doing is of good quality, but ultimately it boils down to what happens in both boxes.
“We have to make sure we’ve got that cutting edge and more importantly we’ve got to cut out mistakes.”