Category: stoke

High-profile Stoke quartet facing axe, Rangers ready to swoop for midfielder

Darren Fletcher, Geoff Cameron, Charlie Adam and Peter Crouch could all be axed at Stoke City this summer, as Gary Rowett looks to reshape the squad he has inherited at the bet365 Stadium. 

Rowett has taken over at Stoke on a three-year deal, with the ex-Derby boss looking to help his new employers achieve an instant return to the Premier League.

According to a report from the Stoke Sentinel, Fletcher, Cameron, Adam and Crouch could all be axed by Rowett this summer, with Stoke’s new boss unlikely to stand in the quartet’s way if they want to leave the club.

Rowett will focus on a younger, more athletic squad, to guide Stoke back to the Premier League.

Fletcher is one player who is attracting interest, with a the veteran midfielder looking set to move on after just a year at the bet365 Stadium.

According to the Scotsman, Rangers are interested in signing Fletcher, with the Glasgow giants offering the midfielder a route back to Scotland this summer.

The 34-year-old midfielder has made 29 appearances during his year at Stoke, after arriving at the bet365 Stadium from West Bromwich Albion.

The Verdict  

Rowett is inheriting a squad that struggled last season, and he will want to get his own players in this summer.

Fletcher, Cameron, Adam and Crouch are all high-profile players, but if Rowett doesn’t believe they can help Stoke move forward, they need to be moved on.

Rowett will be aware that Championship experience will be key next season, but a younger, more energetic squad, certainly has a better chance of getting out of a competitive Championship.

Stoke fans… Let us know your thoughts!

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Rangers 'line up Stoke City raid' for former West Brom man

Former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Darren Fletcher could be leaving Stoke City just a year after joining them.

Fletcher, 34, swapped The Hawthorns for the bet365 Stadium 12 months ago on a free transfer.

He started 25 matches in the Premier League but only featured twice off the bench in Stoke’s final 11 games as they were relegated to the Championship.

Now, Rangers reportedly want to sign him according to StokeonTrentLive.

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The Ibrox club are undergoing a summer revamp of their squad under new boss Steven Gerrard.

They have already confirmed six new signings while letting eight players leave and are now said to be weighing up a bid for Fletcher, who has a year left on his Potters deal.

The report adds that new Stoke manager Gary Rowett could prefer a younger and more athletic squad as he attempts to achieve promotion back to the top flight at the first time of asking and could allow their more experienced crop of players – Fletcher, Charlie Adam, Geoff Cameron and Peter Crouch – depart.

Read More All you need to know about West Brom now More Albion news

Watford have reportedly made the first move Josef de Souza, the Fenerbahce midfielder who has also been linked with Wolves and West Brom.

The Hornets are said to have lodged a £7.9m bid, according to Turkish newspaper A Spor – but their offer falls short of the Turkish club’s valuation.

Albion were poised to sign de Souza in August last year and had agreed a fee of around £10.6m with Fenerbahce, only for the club to pull out of the move when they snapped up Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak on loan instead.

Upon learning the news that his Premier League dream had been denied, de Souza is said to have cried in front of club president Aziz Yildirim when informed that Albion had ended negotiations.

But the Brazlian international could be offered another chance to join the Baggies, according to reports in Turkey.

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A Spor have

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84.1% pass success rate: This attacking left-back would push Pieters for a starting spot at Stoke

Stoke City have already started their summer revamp plans with Oghenekaro Etebo and Benik Afobe arriving at the bet365 Stadium.

Gary Rowett has acted early in the summer transfer window after taking the job at Stoke and he will undoubtedly be scouring the market for more new additions.

Ahead of the new season, his defence is shaping up quite well, especially if left-back Erik Pieters decides to stay.

The Dutchman could play a starring role in the Championship but he needs someone to compete with him to keep him on his toes.

Stoke could target Reading youngster Omar Richards. Here, FLW looks at his season in numbers and assesses whether his would be a good addition.

Richards burst onto the scene this season, playing 13 games for the Royals.

His defensive contributions are solid as he averages more than one interception and two clearances per game, as well as making an average of 1.8 tackles in each match.

But Richards’ selling point is his attacking threat from full-back, which would be particularly appealing for Stoke if Rowett deploys the 3-5-2 formation that he was using towards the end of the season with Derby.

Richards would be a perfect candidate for the left-wing-back role as his attacking stats show that he has a pass completion rate of nearly 84 per cent and he has already notched two goals, which is unusual for a full-back.

The 20-year-old is quick, strong and willing to get up and down that left flank, making him an intriguing long-term project that Stoke could invest in.

Perhaps Stoke should make a bid to test Reading’s resolve for the Londoner as he would provide good back-up for Pieters in the short-term while also providing a long-term solution in that department.

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Should Stoke City bring in safe-standing if the law is changed?

Talk about standing at football doesn’t necessarily mean a return to the days of the old Boothen End – or, most importantly, Hillsborough.

Top clubs in England were forced to adopt all-seater stadia by the Taylor Report in the aftermath of the 1989 tragedy, when 96 Liverpool supporters were unlawfully killed.

But rail seating has been introduced successfully in Germany for a decade, with strictly fixed capacities. There are no crush barriers or lateral or perimeter fences and every spectator has the same amount of personal space as they would in a conventional seat.

Celtic Park has a rail-seating section that has seats down for matches in European competition and fixed up for domestic games. (Image: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Celtic introduced 3,000 rail seats in 2016 after negotiations with Glasgow City Council, taking advantage of different legislation in Scotland than England and Wales.

For Champions League games which come under Uefa rules the seats are fixed down but in domestic competitions, they are flicked up and locked into place.

Each metal seat is incorporated within a robust metal frame which forms a waist-high rail for supporters in the row behind, with the same spacing as standard seats. The frames interlock to form a continuous high-strength rail along the full length of each row. Rail heights can vary between 90 and 115cm.

Read More Why do people want to stand?

There have been growing calls for the system to be allowed in the Premier League and Championship.

Supporters have continued to regularly stand at matches, especially at away matches and this can cause problems for the young, short, elderly or those who are unable or unwilling to stand for long periods of time. It can also lead to the blocking of aisles.

It has been a particular problem for Stoke fans at grounds including Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea in recent years.

Stoke City fans at Anfield. (Image: Steve Bould)

Superintendent Alan Murray, from Police Scotland’s operations and justice division said: “The reality is standing in football stadiums, particularly amongst away supporters, is widespread and has

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Stoke City (H): Tickets Now on Sale

Saddlers supporters have initially been allocated the newly named HomeServe Stand and Main Stand. 2018/19 Season Ticket Holders have until Friday, 29th June to claim their seats in those areas. Away supporters will be housed in the University of Wolverhampton Stand.
Ticket Prices Adults – £12 Under-18s – £6 Over-60s – £6 Family* – £15 * – 1 Adult, 1 Under-12 Disabled Supporters have been allocated the Community Stand – cost is relevant to above price class, with a carer free of charge.
Matchday Hospitality Matchday Hospitality Packages are priced at Adults – £42.50 Under 14s – £21.25 Hospitality includes; Car Parking, Matchday Programme, Centre Stand Ticket, 3-Course Pre-Match Carvery Meal, Half-Time Refreshments and Access to the licensed bar facilities Purchase your tickets now by calling the Banks’s Stadium Ticket Office on 01922 651414 or 01922 651416. MORE FROM BESCOT BANTER About Bescot Banter Bescot Banter is an independent look at Walsall Football Club

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“We’ll shape our plans” – Manager keen to get Stoke City transfer sealed, talks accelerated

Hurriyet report Galatasaray manager Fatih Terim has told the club’s board his first priority in this transfer window is to sign Badou Ndiaye from Stoke City.

The Stoke City player has been linked with a return to his former club in recent weeks and Hurriyet say talks have accelerated between the two sides.

According to Hurriyet, Terim has told the Turkish club’s board: ‘We’ll shape our plans according to Ndiaye’s situation. If we manage to sign him, it’ll be very good. He’s a versatile player and he has all the attributes we need.’

It’s once again worth pointing out that words presented as quotes in the Turkish media are often paraphrased.

Gala recently received a fine from UEFA due to their failure to comply with FFP rules, and Terim believes they need to act carefully in this transfer market to avoid any further sanctions.

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It’s claimed Galatasaray are looking to loan Ndiaye for free because they’ll cover his entire salary.

However, the Turkish newspaper suggest Stoke City are looking for a loan fee of €2.5m for the season, which would take the cost up to €6m.

Galatasaray have also been linked with Stoke City midfielder Giannelli Imbula in the past week, if they fail to sign Ndiaye.

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Stoke City transfer gossip: Scottish giants in for Darren Fletcher

Darren Fletcher is reportedly attracting interest from Glasgow Rangers and their new boss Steven Gerrard.

Some reports north of the border are going as far as saying Rangers are in the process of weighing up a bid for the veteran midfielder.

Gerrard certainly needs no introduction to Fletcher after the pair frequently crossed swords during the heat of a Liverpool v Manchester United battle over many seasons.

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Fletcher, now 34, arrived at Stoke City on a free from West Bromwich Albion 12 months ago and went on to start 25 Premier League fixtures.

Darren Fletcher at Swansea on the final day of last season – a rare appearance in the final few months (Image: PA)

But the pace of the top flight caught up with the former Scottish international as the season wore on and he enjoyed just two sub appearances in Stoke’s final 11 league games.

New boss Gary Rowett has already spoken this week about the potential impact of the club’s older generation in the Championship next season.

But with the emphasis mainly on a younger and more athletic squad, the likes of Fletcher, Charlie Adam, Geoff Cameron and Peter Crouch could be among those the new manager won’t stand in the way of leaving.

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When are Stoke City stars in action again at the World Cup?

It’s all eyes on new signing Peter Etebo for Stokies at the World Cup out in Russia.

He’s the next Potter in action when Nigeria take on Iceland in Volgograd on Friday afternoon at 4pm.

Etebo was one of Nigeria’s better performers in a holding midfield role during their otherwise disappointing 2-0 defeat to Croatia last Saturday evening.

That leaves the Nigerians bottom of Group D and desperately needing a win against the Icelanders before they wrap up their group fixtures against Argentina.

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After Etebo it’s Xherdan Shaqiri, still a Stoke City player for now.

The wee fella will be lining up for Switzerland against Serbia straight after Etebo’s game for a 7pm kick off on Friday in Kaliningrad.

Mame Diouf played his part in Senegal’s surprising win over Poland in their Group H opener in Moscow (Image: Getty)

The Swiss will fancy their chances after kicking off with that 1-1 draw against Brazil in Group E and a victory over the Serbs will all but guarantee them qualification with Costa Rica to come in their final group game.

Then it’s on to Sunday lunchtime for a 1pm kick off between England and Group G outsiders Panama in Novgorod when, barring injury, Jack Butland will again be on the bench.

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And finally for the second round of group games involving Stokies it’s Senegal duo Mame Diouf and Badou Ndiaye for their Group H clash against Japan straight after the England game at 4pm.

Diouf played the first hour of yesterday’s 2-1 win over Poland, while Ndiaye remained an unused sub.

So, in short, leave your diaries clear between 4pm and 9pm on Friday and between 1pm and 6pm on Sunday.

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New Stoke deal sends a warning to Championship rivals

After a football club suffers relegation there normally follows a period of frustration, dejection and gloom for the supporters as they begin to acclimatise to the idea of watching their team compete in a lower tier.

That sense of gloom is normally enhanced for teams that drop out of the Premier League. The Championship has little of the glitz, glamour or prestige of the top flight of English football and it is a notoriously difficult league to escape from.

However, the current atmosphere among Stoke City supporters is cautiously optimistic and there is a new air of positivity around the Bet365 Stadium.

A decade-long stay in the Premier League came to an unceremonious end in May after The Potters trudged through a tumultuous campaign in which they never truly looked like escaping the drop.

In truth, the club had begun to stagnate amid an air of complacency as the hierarchy, management, players and supporters grew used to the glamour of the top flight. However, as Stoke ultimately found, if you begin to settle and tread water in the Premier League then you will quickly find yourself sinking.

(Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

New found optimism

The Stoke City hierarchy have moved quickly since the end of the campaign to instigate the reconstruction of the club.

The arrival of Gary Rowett was a shrewd piece of business and the former Burton Albion, Birmingham City and Derby County manager has brought fresh energy, enthusiasm and optimism to the Bet365 Stadium.

The 44-year-old is widely regarded as being one of the most promising young coaches in Britain and he is a figure that the club’s supporters have been able to quickly unite behind

Rowett came across as calm, focused and driven in his inaugural press conference and his early activity at Stoke has helped to generate a positive atmosphere and build some momentum even at this early stage of the summer.

The Potters have already begun to flex their financial muscle by signing two new players and the suggestion appears to be that these will be the first of many.

Nigerian international

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Do you get value for money on a Stoke City change shirt?

Stoke City fans who forked out for an away shirt last year only got to see their side wear it three times in the league – and with only one win.

The Potters turned out in their blue away kit in just three Premier League games in 2017/18 – away to Manchester United in January, away to Southampton in March and away to Swansea in May, with victory coming in the last one when relegation had already been confirmed.

Stoke players Max Choupo-Moting, Kurt Zouma and Darren Fletcher model the kits for 2017/18. (Image: Stoke City)

However, their supposed third-choice white kit got five outings, including a win at Watford.

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That means Stoke wore their home shirt in 30 games, with only Tottenham (31) and Everton (32) wearing their home top more often.

The Potters were one of six top flight clubs who favoured their third kits over their away ones.

Joe Allen in the new Stoke City away kit for 2018/19. (Image: Stoke City FC)

Everton wore their third kit four times but their away one just twice. Bournemouth wore their third top seven times and their away top six times. Arsenal wore their third top eight times and away one seven times, while West Brom wore their white and red away top five times and their third green top six times.

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Tottenham, meanwhile, didn’t wear their third choice kit at all during league games in 2017/18. However, the club did say when the kit was launched that it would be mainly used for Champions League matches.

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Man management must be carrot and stick says Stoke City manager

Gary Rowett hopes his man management will be the right blend of discipline and flexibility as he strives for a better dressing-room spirit than the one helping to plunge the club towards relegation last season.

“The game’s changed and you build relationships with players,” he says. “The days of you just telling the players what you want and that’s it, it’s a lot harder to do that because the world’s changing.

“If I could bring my kids up that way it would be fantastic. If I just told them what to do every day it would be fantastic.

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“But just occasionally I have to try to explain and try to find what’s in it for them.

“So ultimately, the players are no different. I’ll spend time with the players and talk to them one-to-one and the staff will be very good there.

(Image: Stoke Sentinel)

“I like to have an open environment because I want the players to buy into what they are doing and if they buy into what they are doing then they will come into it even more.”

The Stoke City boss continued: “That’s the aim. It won’t always be the case, but I’ll work towards it.

“I want the players to enjoy that dressing room and to engender a good team spirit in there, but you have to work hard to do that, it’s not just something that happens.

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“And of course, sometimes you have to change some of those components to make sure that the dressing room does have a good team spirit.

“So sometimes you have to bring players in and let players go to get that how you want it.”

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‘Welsh Xavi’ Pens A New Long-Term Deal With Stoke City: Big Boost For The Potters?

Stoke City have got a major boost ahead of their upcoming season in the Championship as their experienced midfielder Joe Allen has signed a new long-term contract with the club which will now keep him at the Bet365 Stadium for the next four years. This can be counted as a big success for Gary Rowett as one often see players ditching the club once they have been relegated. There were not going to be a dearth of Premier League offers for Joe Allen and such decision will certainly make him a fan favourite at the club.

On the eve of signing his contract, he said,” I spoke to Tony Scholes once the season had ended and he made it very clear that the Club weren’t interested in selling me and that they wanted me to stay on. That stance from the Club, coupled with how settled I am here, how happy I am and how much I’ve enjoyed it, made it pretty straightforward for me.”

He further added,” As players, we have to shoulder responsibility for what happened last season. Sometimes in football when things go wrong players try to wash their hands of it but I’m hoping a few more of the lads will have the same target of trying to set the record straight and helping the Club bounce straight back.”

Allen was being linked to quite a few top flight clubs and Stoke City board would have dreaded to see their midfielder leave in the summer. Allen is a Premier League quality player but has the experience of Championship football from his Swansea City days.

We often don’t see this level of loyalty in today’s day and age and it is good to see that the Welshman has shouldered some responsibility for the last season’s debacle. The 28-year-old former Liverpool man was a regular for his side as he made 38 appearances in all competitions. The Potters will now be hoping that with few other acquisitions in the transfer market, they can build a team which will make their way to the Premier League.

Read More: Stoke City Eyeing A Move For

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Midfielder deal shows that Stoke City aren't a sinking ship

As Mondays go, this last one was as interesting as they come.

The frustration of England’s performance was washed away by the most important thing of all – that they actually won the game! The feeling that VAR would bring about a fairer and less controversial era in football was thrown into doubt by Tunisia’s unpunished WWE wrestling moves in the penalty area and we got to see exactly why Harry Kane should be in the penalty area at corner-kicks and not stood by the flag taking them.

On an incident-packed day though, the most interesting development of all was the fantastic news of Joe Allen agreeing to a new contract at the bet365 Stadium and thus displaying his desire and commitment to the project of getting Stoke City back into the top flight as quickly as possible.

Joe Allen was runaway winner of the Stanley Matthews Stoke City player of the season. (Image: Leanne Bagnall)

I honestly don’t know why our player of the season has decided to stick with the Potters? Does he feel duty-bound to stay, to help make good on last season’s calamity, even though he was the most blameless for all of the shortcomings of the team? Does he perhaps like the club, fans and/or area? Did Tony Scholes kidnap members of his family and hold them hostage until he put pen to paper?

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Who knows? The end result is the same though – we get to hold on to the services of one of best and certainly most committed players in our squad and that’s huge for us.

There’s no doubt whatsoever that Joe Allen would have been snapped up if he’d announced that he wanted to get away and any one of a dozen clubs in next season’s Premier League could have considered themselves to be lucky to have him in their team.

This is one rat though who’s not looking to leave a sinking ship and that perhaps shows that Stoke are no actually sinking ship at all.

Stoke City boss Gary Rowett flanked

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Rangers Eye Up Move For Out-Of-Favour Stoke City Striker: Can Gerrard Land Him This Summer?

Latest reports claim that Rangers have taken an interest in mishitting Stoke City striker, Saido Berahino. The 24-year-old managed just one goal from his 22 appearances for the Potter last season, failing to see his team through a relegation scruff. Now, Steven Gerrard is prepared to offer him an escape to the Ibrox, where the centre-forward can look to resurrect his dying career.

Stoke are still tied to Berahino for another 4 years but might be ready to move him since their drop to the Championship. Mark Hughes could not keep the side on track the last term and Paul Lambert ended up finishing the 2017/18 season at the very bottom of the Premier League.

With Gary Rowett setting up camp at the bet365 the Potters are on an ambitious road towards top-flight recovery. Getting some of the big contracts from the wage books will help clear up space for more talented options.

Clearly, Berahino’s switch from West Brom has produced very poor returns and it is time to end ties. The 24-year-old came into the Staffordshire club after impressing for the Baggies over the past few seasons.

The striker had all the traits to become one of the most prolific strikers in the league. He racked up 36 goals in his 121 appearances for Albion and also had 8 assists. The golden child of the West Brom academy and once a transfer target for Tottenham, Berahino now is nothing more than a rotational option in the Stoke lineup.

He even had 57 caps for the England youth sides in which he scored 24 goals. The Bujumbura-born player had taken all the right measures to develop himself into an able professional over the years.

He served loan spells with Northampton Town, Brentford and Peterborough United and played in 34 games for the Albion U23 side, scoring 18 and furthering 5 assists. With a sweet left foot and the pace to beat defenders on the run, Berahino could be one of the new age centre-forwards who can operate as a false nine and be more involved in the build-up play.

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Well done Rowett – Stoke completing the deal for this 28-year-old solid performer could turn out to be a master stroke

According to a report from Sky Sports, Stoke City have managed to tie down Joe Allen to a new four-year deal. The Potters endured a terrible season last term as they failed to preserve their top-flight status.

They have to play in the Championship next term and given the level of competition in the second-tier competition, it will be anything but easy for them to return to the Premier League. However, with new manager Gary Rowett at the helm, things are looking up for Stoke.

The fact that they have managed to retain Allen’s services will also come as a major boost for the club. Usually, whenever a club is relegated, there is invariably a mass exodus from the team.

A similar situation is happening at Stoke as well, with the likes of Ramadan Sobhi already leaving the club for Huddersfield Town. But it is great to see someone of Allen’s calibre commit his future to Stoke even at a time when they are in such a challenging phase.

Over the course of the last season, Allen appeared 38 times across all competitions for Stoke. He chipped in with 4 goals and 7 assists with a pass success rate of 81.1%. According to Squawka, the 28-year-old managed to create 27 chances from the middle of the park in 36 Premier League appearances last term.

Stoke were in extremely poor shape in the previous campaign and the fact that Allen was one of their better performers speaks volumes of the player’s qualities.

He is vastly experienced and he could prove to be an influential figure for Stoke in the upcoming season. Rowett has already completed a loan deal for Benik Afobe, who played a key role in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ successes in the latter half of the 2017/18 season.

Afobe’s arrival on loan certainly helped Wolves to score goals more often as they earned promotion back to the Premier League. And although Nuno Espirito Santo signed him permanently from Bournemouth just a few days earlier, it is unsurprising to see him at Stoke now. After all, Rowett

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Wolves Make A £22m Bid For Stoke City Midfield Ace: Should Santo Really Go All In For Him?

According to latest reports, Wolverhampton Wanderers have tabled a £22m bid for Stoke City midfielder Badou Ndiaye. The offer is certainly going to tempt the Potters as they acquired him in the January transfer window for £14m from Turkish giants Galatasaray and the opportunity for a quick profit is nothing to be sniffed at in the present moment. The midfielder was a regular feature for the Potters in the second half of the season as he made 13 appearances for them in the Premier League.

Wolves secured promotion to the Premier League with a brilliant season in the Championship. They led the table since mid-November and none of the other teams came close to dislodging them from the top spot. The expectations are certainly high at the West Midlands club currently as they look to take on the challenges of the Premier League.

Backed by their new owners Fosun, Wolves are not afraid to go after their transfer targets as they got Ruben Neves for a club record fee of £15m and the Portuguese played a crucial part in their promotion to the top flight. 

The Stoke City midfielder is currently with Senegal national team for the 2018 World Cup and the 27-year-old is set to play a crucial role for the African country.

Stoke City will surely like to keep hold of their player, however, a club’s negotiation power goes down significantly when the team drops to a lower division and a good offer from a top division club will certainly make the player’s head turn.

Wolves had quite a few players who were on loan and they will be looking to secure a permanent deal for them. Along with Neves, they used Alfred Ndiaye in midfield. However, it remains to be seen whether Nuno Santo will go in for him in the summer transfer market for a permanent move.

Badou Ndiaye was impressive in his short spell at Bet 365 Stadium as he showcased some brilliant performances for them. Gary Rowett will be keen on holding on to him but a £22m offer will certainly be tough to turn down. Wolves

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Stoke fans give verdicts on early business, Joe Allen deal – and what should happen next

A week before the start of pre-season, we’ve gathered a Stoke City fans’ panel to cast their eye over transfer business and what’s still needed.

On their soap boxes are Mitch Adams, from London; Richard James, from Blythe Bridge; and Marc Espley, from Longton.

Do you agree? Have your say via @StokeCityLive on Twitter or our Stoke City Facebook page .

What do you make of Stoke’s early business?

Mitch Adams: Quite honestly it feels like we’re watching a different club compete in this transfer window.

Signing the likes of Afobe and Etebo doesn’t just show that we’re keen to bounce back into the Premier League with good quality signings, but it also shows that we’re finally taking action to lower the age of the squad and to inject some much needed pace and mobility.

It’s a shame it took relegation for them to finally approach a transfer window like this.

Stoke City midfielder Oghenekaro Etebo made his World Cup debut for Nigeria against Croatia. (Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Etebo should bring some much needed stability and youth to our midfield, and after a strong showing at Nigeria’s first game in the World Cup it’s exciting to think that he’s only 22 and has plenty of potential. Hopefully he can play a key role as an anchor to our new look midfield.

Afobe on the other hand is a slightly bigger risk in my opinion but is a great signing nevertheless. His goal scoring record isn’t as strong as someone like Dwight Gayle, but with the right service he has the capability to be a strong asset for the club, during our time in the Championship at the very least. And with youth on his side also he may still develop into a solid Premier League level striker.

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Richard James: The way we have approached our business up to now has really encouraged me and it feels Stoke have managed to rekindle some of the fire in the belly of our support.

From the decisive way we appointed Gary Rowett to our no nonsense approach

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We will be capable of beating anyone on opening day says Stoke City boss, but…

Gary Rowett says he plans on fielding a team capable of beating any opposition on the opening day of the season – whoever Stoke are paired with during Thursday morning’s fixture list announcement.

But he warns that the Championship is so competitive that Stoke could also lose to any opposition if they aren’t up for it.

Stoke find themselves included in the Championship fixtures for the first time in a decade when they are released at 9am on Thursday.

Rowett insists he doesn’t get too het up about who plays who when because bottom can beat top on any given weekend.

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“Last season we (Derby) beat Cardiff who went up automatically,” he recalled, “and we lost to Burton Albion who were bottom of the league at the time.

“So people view fixtures as `oh that looks like a good period, that looks like a tough period.’ Or `that looks like a good start, its at home against a team you fancy to beat.’

Stoke’s last opening-day fixture in the Championship saw Steve Simonsen brilliantly save this penalty in a 1-0 win at Ninian Park (Image: Steve Bould/The Sentinel)

It doesn’t work like that. I will treat every game, regardless of who it is, as the same and I will do that because I believe whichever team we have on the pitch first game of the season will be good enough to beat any side in the division.

“But, if we don’t perform, we will also be poor enough to lose to any side in the division. That’s how the division works.”

Rowett admits he will have half-an-eye on fixtures against his old clubs, while Stoke’s whereabouts on Boxing Day will have more significance for him than most.

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“I’d be lying if said I didn’t look for some of the teams I’ve been with previously,” he continued.

“When I was at Derby I’d always look for that Birmingham and that Burton fixture.

“My missus’ birthday is on Boxing day and I am telling you now, that is the most important fixture. That is the

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Joe Allen likes the look of Stoke City transfer targets like Dwight Gayle

`New signing’ Joe Allen is excited by the likes of Dwight Gayle and Junior Hoillett being linked with a summer move to Stoke City.

The Welsh international, who yesterday confirmed he was staying by penning a new four-year contract, reckons such names will turn Stoke into genuine promotion contenders next season.

“You never know what to believe, but some of the players we have been linked with in the media would be players that would help us compete at the top end of the Championship,” he enthused.”

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He is also impressed with the signings of striker Benik Afobe and potential midfielder partner Peter Etebo.

“I’m pretty sure the fans will be happy with what we’ve done so far.

“We’ve made two really good additions and it’s always good to do early business in the summer transfer window.”

Newcastle United striker Dwight Gayle, a potential summer target for Stoke City. (Image: LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

Allen also told the club’s website that new boss Gary Rowett is his kind of man.

“I’ve had a chat with manager,” he confirmed. “He said all the right things really. The way he’s going to approach it seems to fit in with what the lads need and I think everyone is looking forward to the start of pre-season and working with him.”

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Stoke’s senior squad, minus a few World Cup participants, is due to report back to Clayton Wood on June 27.

Their current pre-season schedule reads:

July 14: Walsall v Stoke City – Banks’s Stadium
July 18: VFL Bochum v Stoke City – venue TBC
July 21: SV Meppen v Stoke City / Hamburg v Stoke City – Hänsch-Arena
July 25: Stoke City v Wolves – bet365 Stadium
July 28: St. Pauli v Stoke City – Millerntor-Stadion

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New seats delayed at Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium

Work to replace seats in the main stand at the bet365 Stadium are currently on hold.

Three sides of Stoke City’s headquarters have been fitted with new seats over the last couple of years and the fourth, the west, Q-Railing Stand, had been on the agenda for this summer.

But that changed when supplier Stechert, based in Germany, went into insolvency.

Richard Smith, the managing director of Stoke City Property, has now met with owners of a successor company in hope to get the scheme running again.

The West Stand, which has a 7,357 capacity, at Stoke City’s bet365 Stadium. (Image: Malcolm Hart)

A statement from the club this morning said: “Stechert going into insolvency was unfortunate news for the company and their employees and brought to an end a family business of 60 years standing that had supplied stadium seats across the globe. It also, of course, gave us the problem of how we could conclude our project.

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“The position is now becoming clearer as a successor company to Stechert has been formed and Richard Smith recently met with the owners of the business to discuss the way forward.

“Further meetings will be held in due course and an announcement will be made regarding the conclusion of the project later in the year.”

The West Stand at the new Stoke City stadium being erected in 1997. (Image: Dave Randle) Renovation work at the bet365 Stadium during the summer of 2017. (Image: Phil Greig/Stoke City)

Stechert have worked with Stoke since 2013 and had previously installed seats in the west (Q-Railing) stand as well as more than 700 Lugano chairs for the hospitality areas and the 36 bench seats for the dug-outs.

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In 2016 the company replaced 5,000 seats in the dpd Stand, replacing long-term sponsor Britannia with bet365 spelled out in white.

Last year a further 17,000 seats were replaced in the north, east and south stands and fitted in the new south east corner.

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Stoke City boss checking out his Senegal duo at World Cup

Stoke City’s Senegal duo Mame Diouf and Badou Ndiaye can count on the backing of new boss Gary Rowett when they make their World Cup bows this afternoon.

The pair are hoping to make the starting 11 for Senegal’s opening Group H clash with Poland in Moscow (4pm).

Rowett laments the fact he doesn’t have time to watch the entire World Cup, but will be monitoring his own players out in Russia ahead of their return for pre-season training.

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“If I was sat here as a 14 year-old, I would probably watch every single game that the World Cup has to offer.

“As a slightly more weary manager, I’ll be more selective in the games I choose to watch, but certainly in the games that our players are involved in, I’ll watch those games.

Mame Diouf… practising his goal celebration while posing for shots at the World Cup (Image: Getty)

“Ill be adopting Nigeria, I’ll be adopting Senegal and I’ll be a typical England fan.”

England kicked off life in Group F with last night’s last-gasp 2-1 win over Tunisia in Volgograd and Rowett says: “I’ll be hopeful, but I won’t be holding my breath because I’ve seen so many tournaments, but I have to say this time round England have got a good, young, energetic side and it’s going to be a really interesting time.

“Like any manager, I’ll be looking for any little ideas on how I can improve my own team.”

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