What areas do they need to strengthen?
Attack. Attack. Attack! Stoke have leaked 27 goals this season, but with Newcastle, Tottenham and Liverpool conceding the same or more but still above them in the table it’s clear it’s goals that will see the Potters rise.
Mame Biram Diouf is the club’s top scorer with a meagre five and while Peter Crouch and Jonathan Walters have chipped in the Britannia Stadium is crying out for a proven goalscorer if mid-table mediocrity is to be avoided.
Who have they been linked with?
Edin Dzeko, Aaron Lennon, Zakaria Bakkali, Joel Campbell, Juan Agudelo, Nathan Redmond, Joel Pohjonpalo, Matej Vydra, Moussa Dembele, Godfred Donash, Paul George-Ntep, Andre-Pierre Gignac
January Wishlist Best Buys
Edin Dzeko (Manchester City)
The Bosnian is a proven scorer in the Premier League and in truth in a bracket beyond where Stoke would usually shop. However, Wilfried Bony’s mid-season arrival at the Etihad could persuade the 28-year-old to agree to a loan switch.
Should his goals then see the Potters reach Europe he could even be swayed to stay!
Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur)
A combination of injuries and falling down the pecking order of various Spurs managers have seen Lennon become something of a forgotten man in the Premier League.
However, the 21-cap England player is still only 27-years-old and could have his best years in front of him. His electric pace could help Hughes get the best from the strikers already at his disposal if all else fails.
Zakaria Bakkali (PSV)
The 18-year-old Belgian has attracted admiring glances from the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal after some dazzling displays in the Eredivisie and but for a hip injury that interest would still remain.
The big boys’ loss could be Stoke’s gain, however, with Bakkali failing to break back into the PSV side on a regular basis since returning from his spell on the sidelines.
With his contract up in the summer a cut-price deal could be on the cards before the current window shuts.
The final product is still to come but Bakkali is an exciting prospect:
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Charlie Austin (QPR)
He may not be the most gifted of footballers but the QPR man is a good, old-fashioned striker who gets the job done and exactly what Stoke need.
With the Rs struggling and likely to be involved in a relegation scrap, Austin could be tempted to take another step on a career ladder that has taken him from Poole Town to an England contender in just five years.
Austin’s goal record at all levels speaks for itself and a January bid would see Hughes steal a march on any potential rivals, who would surely start to circle should QPR fall through the trap door.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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