BR>It is just 4 weeks until Stoke start their campaign in the Europa League, but we have still yet to make any in roads in the transfer market. True, Tony Pulis does like to leave it late but that makes it so frustrating for us fans who are crying out for some new players. All we have to go on is guesswork, although we have a pretty clear idea about a couple of players Pulis would love to sign. It opens in just 4 days, so here are a few names we could see moving in or out of the Britannia stadium.
But lest put this to bed first eh, because it is being reported this morning that midlands rivals Aston Villa are looking to sign our own Matty Etherington. Well I can tell you now Villa fans, he aint going anywhere. Not unless you want to stomp up the sort of money that bought in the likes of Downing and Young.
Admittedly it does worry me that some so called ‘bigger clubs` have noticed Etherington`s transformation at the Britannia stadium, but I think he is sensible enough to know he needs Stoke for more then his football.
And so to targets, and it must be the worst keep secret in the whole of Stoke-on-Trent that Tony Pulis would love to get his hands on Birmingham striker Cameron Jerome. After the Blues were relegated last year it is quite likely that he will leave St Andrews and I admit I would be surprised if he wasn`t in the red and white come September 1st.
His team-mate Scott Dann is a much more interesting link. Stoke have been the first of many expected clubs to enter talks with Birmingham. But with Arsenal and Liverpool known to be keen, I wouldn`t get his name printed on the back of my shirt. Dann is very highly rated and would easily break the transfer record of £8 million we paid for Kenwyne Jones last summer. I expect Jerome, but Dann will be difficult.
Upfront, is the main area that needs addressing, with only Jones, Walters, Fuller and Sidibe available. It wouldn`t surprise me if Fuller left this summer and with Sidibe unreliable it makes at least two strikers a must. With Jerome expected to be one, could DJ Campbell be another. He certainly with Blackpool last season and is surely looking for a swift return to the top flight. The fee of £1.5 million is being discussed for a player who got into double figures last year, but Sunderland remain keen.
I`m sure Pulis is looking to strengthen the centre of midfield as well, and after missing out on Jamie O`Hara could his ex-Spurs team-mate Jermaine Jenas fit the bill? Jenas has definitely lost his way in the past couple of seasons and looks out of his depth at such a high level, nevertheless he would be a coup for Stoke at around £6million.
Peter Coates has admitted the club are looking overseas and have been linked to Mohmmadou Diarra, formerly of Real Madrid, but at 30 has he had his best days, especially after suffering many injury problems. Centre-back Cedric Mongongu is another one who is being linked from Monaco. After being relegated last year, Monaco are resigned to letting their top players go and the 22 year-old comes highly recommended and at just £3.5 million he could be a steal.
So, although nothing concrete has happened yet, we can still expect a busy summer, especially as we get into late August. I would expect about 5 new arrivals, possibly more and the likes of Fuller, Sorensen and Danny Collins may have to make way.
The transfer window opens on July 1st, so let the madness begin!