Playmaker’s early return to make it a happy summer for Stoke

Having achieved Stoke’s best ever points total in a Premier League campaign, Mark Hughes’ busy summer of recruitment shows the Welshman is not intent to rest on those laurels.

Seven players have arrived to bolster Hughes’ squad, including former Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson and Spanish striker Joselu.

The Potters finished 2014/15 in the best possible fashion, by thrashing Liverpool 6-1 at the Britannia Stadium to confirm their evolution as an exciting attacking force under Hughes.

One man who wasn’t involved in the final-day goal fest was Bojan. Unfortunately for the attacking midfielder signed from Barcelona last summer, a cruciate knee injury had forced him to miss the entire second half of the campaign, having been so influential up to that point.

Bojan proved to be a revelation for Hughes, lighting up the Britannia with his dribbling ability and eye for a killer pass, but it was feared such a serious injury could prevent him from starting the 2015/16 season.

However, latest reports that the Croatian playmaker has recovered ahead of schedule are the icing on Stoke’s off-season cake.

Bojan scored five goals in all competitions for his new club in 18 appearances, immediately endearing himself to the Britannia crowd and earning unanimous praise from pundits.

The fact that Stoke still pushed on to collect a record haul of top-flight points without their maestro, shows how far the Potters have come under the former Manchester City manager.

With Bojan back available Stoke attaining another top-ten finish come May is looking like a pretty solid 23/20 wager, while their 10/11 status to be the top Midlands club once more also bodes well.

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Christian Crowther

Give Christian a sport with anything remotely spherical in it and he’ll happily while away the hours watching it on the box. However, he’d much prefer writing about, playing or betting on golf, football, cricket, tennis, snooker.... you get the picture.