Stoke City have undergone a radical transformation under Mark Hughes, from long-ball, long-throwing specialists to pacey counter-attacking football, and that could be set to continue if the Potters can persuade former Manchester United man Nani on a return to England.
Nani was a crucial piece of Sir Alex Ferguson’s final United teams, but slipped down the pecking order under David Moyes and then Louis van Gaal.
A loan move to Sporting Lisbon was followed by a permanent switch to Fenebahce, and the winger quickly quickly dispelled any accusations that he’d lost his way with fine campaigns
The 29-year-old has continued that form into the summer’s European Championships, netting for Portugal versus Iceland.
Spanish outfit Valencia are also chasing the winger, and on paper they have more to offer Stoke, with the La Liga club regularly playing Champions League football.
They’re also regular top-four contenders in the Primera Division, while Stoke’s highest Premier League finish is a trio of ninth-placed finishes.
But his United past makes could hand Stoke a crucial advantage, as Nani would be very familiar with the local area.
Hughes has been successful so far in shedding Stokes’ former image under Tony Pulis, with the signings of exciting players such as Bojan, Xerdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic among others.
But with fellow mid-table teams like Crystal Palace evidently keen to splash the cash this summer, the Potters can’t afford to stand still.
Hughes is also still chasing West Brom’s Saido Berahino, but whoever his striker will be, they’ll be all the better off should Stoke land Nani too.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.