Free agent Nick Powell is set to sign for Stoke City following the expiration of his contract at Wigan.
The Championship side beat Scottish champions Celtic and Premier League side Newcastle United to the 25-year-old playmaker’s signature, with the lucrative offer made by The Potters a statement of intent for next season. Whilst the refusal to move to a higher level of football may come as a surprise to many, Powell has previously stated his reluctance to move due to him having a young family.
The move follows a successful season on Wigan’s return to the Championship, in which the playmaker was involvements in 15 goals in 32 games as The Latics successfully avoided relegation. These performances led Powell’s stock to rise, building on his previous successful season in League One in which he proved pivotal in The Latics’ 2018 return to the second tier of English football.
Powell’s move away from the DW Stadium will come as a huge blow to Steve Cook, who will need to improve his squad in order to build on Wigan’s 18th place finish last term. Powell was an integral piece of this squad, as shown by the improved £1 million-per-year contract that the midfielder turned down at the end of May. Powell’s refusal to re-sign for the Latics has led them to pursue the loan signing of Ben Woodburn from Liverpool, who Cook hopes will replace the creativity lost by Powell moving on.
Powell is reportedly the third free agent who has agreed terms with The Potters this summer, including Millwall’s Lee Gregory and Barnsley’s Adam Davies. All three players are available on free transfers, with Davies lined up as a replacement for the outgoing Jack Butland, whilst Powell and Gregory will add some much-needed firepower for Stoke, who fell short of expectations last term with a 16th place finish.