Wednesday, June 7, 2023

With This Quality Midfield Addition Do Stoke City Have Just Enough To Break Into The Top-Six?

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

Stoke City’s silence in the summer transfer window was finally put to an end on Monday as the Potters clinched two big deals that brought Egyptian wonder kid Ramadan Sobhi and ‘Welsh Xavi’ Joe Allen at the club. Yes, hearts of millions of Liverpool fans across the globe has definitely broken with the news of their very own ‘Jesus’ opting for a switch to Stoke putting an end to his Liverpool career after four long years.

After a brilliant series of impressive displays in the Euro 2016 with Wales, a major part of the mammoth Liverpool fan base might have thought that it was just enough for Klopp to consider giving a regular first-team spot to the gifted but unlucky midfield maestro. But, once again, they were proved wrong as Joe Allen finally sealed his switch to stoke City.

Since Mark Hughes took charge of the Potters, Stoke City always looked like a club on the rise. It would be unfair if we say that the Potters have not progressed under Hughes but at the same time, it would be similarly unfair to say that the progress was an enthralling one.

Without any shadow of doubt, Mark Hughes has managed to change the reputation of Stoke City on a good note. From a side that were notorious for their physical and unattractive game under Tony Pulis, Hughes made the Potters look delightful to our eyes. Stoke are one of the most attractive teams in the Premier League right now with flamboyant players like Shaqiri, Bojan, Afellay et al gracing the pitch.

Playing good football and getting the result of it are two different things. Even though Stoke City came very close to Europa League qualification time and time again in recent years, all they could salvage was three back to back ninth-place finishes. The Potters are right now at a difficult place. If you not going forward, you are going backwards and Stoke are in a danger of staying mediocre for too long.

Joe Allen is joining Stoke City with the momentum with him. His displays in the Euros earned him a place in the Euro 2016 Team of the Tournament. Players like Allen can act as the team’s biggest blessing when you are playing to his strengths while having him on the side can backfire if your tactics go wrong.

At Stoke, Allen could flourish big time alongside big-man Imbula. Allen clearly values the ball and uses it well when he has it. His excellent range of passing and ability to dictate the tempo of the game helped Wales impress in the Euros and he could well prove to be the difference between another ninth-place finish and a Europa League qualification from Stoke.

One thing Hughes need to ensure before the start of the next season is that he has enough goals from his forwards. It is clear that a new clinical centre-forward is needed and if Stoke can bring that, we can definitely see the Potters breaking into top-six next season and Allen could prove to be the key man in making that happen.

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