Thursday, June 1, 2023

Stoke City Want This Bundesliga Man-Mountain; A Good Move?

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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 have improved drastically since the appointment of Mark Hughes in 2013 but there are still some missing links in the team. The Potters finished ninth for three back to back seasons despite their gameplay improved big time under Hughes. They are not the same team anymore that used to be once ill-known for their physical and unattractive brand of football. Under Hughes, Stoke now are one of the most attacking teams in the Premier League but all the progress will go in vain unless the Potters have something to show for it i.e. making their way to European football.

The Potters have bolstered their squad with two massive additions in the form of Joe Allen and Ramadan Sobhi but they still need a few more to bid for a top-six finish. A new striker should be the priority of Mark Hughes while a new centre-back should also be on the wishlist considering how the back line was stretched last season by injuries. If reports from The Stoke Sentinel are to be believed, the Potters are lining up a £12m bid for Bayer Leverkusen defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos.

The Greek international’s career could have had a whole different path if not for his misfortunes with injuries over the years. One of the most-wanted young centre-backs in Europe, saw his development cursed badly by injuries. The 24-year-old joined Leverkusen last summer from Schalke after spending one season on loan at BayArena. The Greek international could make only 31 appearances last campaign but that was quite a lot compared to the previous few injury-cursed seasons.

papa 2

On paper, Stoke City look quite deep at central defence with as many as six players in that position in the form of Shawcross, Wollscheid, Muniesa, Teixeira, Wilson and Cameron. It’s still surprising to believe such a depth was asked questions by injuries the last term.

Given Papadopoulos’ injury records, Stoke moving for him seems like a bad idea but injuries are a part and parcel of every player’s career and that does mean that the 24-year-old cannot make his way past the crisis. Papadopoulos still remains a highly-rated defender with exceptional tackling abilities and determination.

You don’t expect a player who is just 6′ to dominate in the air but the Greek international excels in the air. Thanks to his strong concentration and intercepting abilities, the 24-year-old is also capable of plying his trade as a defensive midfielder. Stoke City would make a good use of having a decent cover for Imbula, Whelan and Allen in the middle of the park.

Papadopoulos would be a smart addition to Stoke City. Just aged 24, the Greek international is yet to enter his peak and Stoke would benefit from him on a long run.

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