Friday, August 12, 2022

Stoke City Rattle The Bigger Sides With Shock Deal For “The Next Jaap Stam” – Is He Worth The Trouble?

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Jon Depp (JD)
Eccentric writer, effervescent blagger. What he lacks in cheekbones, he makes up by being cheeky. The footballing Jack Sparrow pompously navigating the high-waves of journalism. 2015 International Football Blogging Award Finalist, the pin-up boy of The 4th Official.

Stoke always have had a bit of a history of irking the supposed European elites and upending the apple cart. So, when hard-as-nails Mark Hughes took the helm of the Potters, there was always going to be a bit of rustling that was done. And so it has. Stoke have been the proverbial bull in Liverpool’s china shop, as they have gone ahead and have all but sealed the deal for a season-long loan for Merseyside target, 24-year-old central defender and left-back, Bruno Martins Indi from Porto, to Klopp and co. utter contempt.

Juergen Klopp and Liverpool registered their interest with a bid for the Dutchman, which was turned down earlier this week. The German looked to address their glaring left-back problem, with the signing, which has haunted them starkly, for the better part of three seasons.

JD, of The 4th Official, weighs up the talents of the big, bad, Bruno, and why Stoke fans ought to be delighted by the sheer fact that Liverpool fans have been left fuming by this deal.

Bruno the Boss Man

Half the battle is won for a centre-back, when you have a boss a name as Bruno. Arsenal, Atletico, Valencia, Manchester United, Barcelona and, and of course, the two wee clubs across Stanley Park – Everton and Liverpool were bent upon employing the services of Bruno – perhaps, one of the most sought after defenders in The Netherlands, in the not-too-distant-past. His dominance in the physical aspect of his game coupled with his technical competence saw him outrank mostly all of the defensive options that were on show, thereby, making him a mainstay in the colours of the Oranje and now-Everton-manager, Koeman’s Feyenoord.

Bruno, markedly, is a beast, and perfect the prototype of the perfect Stoke player – seldom losing his ground with a shoulder-to-shoulder, and a 6’1″ wrecking ball in the aerial duel. However, those traits belying his quietly-quiet technical abilities, that allows him to operate left-back with the ease of which he plays in the middle as a left-footed centre-back, with all the quiet efficiency of a Volvo.

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Able to stitch up play and stepping up in pressure situations, he’ll be the perfect conduit for transitioning defence into attack. His choice of tackle, unlike some full-blooded centre-backs, depends mostly on the area of the pitch and the situation it is executed in – it ranges from the thumping slide, that rattles the player to the sole of his fortitude, or one which displays clinical precision. His body work borders around the superlative – using his verticality and core strength to full effect.

Weaknesses

Bruno, for all his attributes, has been guilty of relying on them a bit too often – and that can prove to be double-edged. He uses his pace and power to retrieve situations and the ball, which seems otherwise lost. While it may seem a good thing, his positional lapses are often the cause that puts him in that situation – as he’s often caught trying to jockey two positions on the counter instead of one, considering the frequency at which he’s been deployed at both left-back and centre-back.

Verdict

He’d be as perfect a Stoke player as they come. A bruising leader on the pitch, who leads by example and drive. He does have his weaknesses, but nothing too gaping enough to not paper over and fill, over the course of his footballing education. Widely considered as the most talented Dutch defender since the storied Manchester United legend, Jaap Stam, he may prove to be one of the bargains of the summer. And with a whole host of miffed Scousers, as a result, this transfer may just take the cake for Stoke fans.

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