Stoke City see their 2022/23 season end with a trip to Watford next Monday.
It’ll cap what’s been a hugely disappointing season for the Potters. But there’s certainly hope for the near future – Alex Neil’s side showed glimmers of a quality side earlier this year, and the club also looks set to make some positive moves in the summer transfer window too.
And giving an insight into what the summer might hold for the Potters, StokeonTrentLive reporter Peter Smith wrote:
“The first few weeks of the summer are expected to involve sensible recruitment to make sure he has a squad to work with in pre-season. There are likely to be free agents who the manager will trust he can rely on in the changing room and on the pitch.”
Stoke have had a tough few years off the pitch. Michael O’Neill was largely tasked with reducing Stoke City’s wage bill whilst also keeping them competitive in the Championship, and he did both – to a degree anyway. Stoke’s form on the pitch took a downturn but they’re off-field fortunes are looking much better now.
“More headline-making deals are more likely to gain pace as the window goes on. There is potential for some excitement, freed from the toughest constraints of a gruelling three-year Financial Fair Play cycle, with money banked for Harry Souttar still to be spent.”
The summer ahead…
There’s certainly a lot of work to be done. There’s a few periphery players out of contact in the summer which should open up some space for new blood, but there’s also the likes of Morgan Fox out of contract, and a couple of goalkeepers in Jack Bonham and Frank Fielding, so there’s already some gaps opening up in Neil’s XI.
Free agent signings always looked like a likely source of Stoke’s summer signings, but expect Neil to target the loan market once again, and to re-target some of the players he signed in the January transfer window too.
But there’s also money in the bank. Stoke need to put that too good use and learn from their previous mistakes, and if they can do that and start building a team capable of achieving promotion, then the 2023/24 season should be a very positive one.
Stoke v Watford kicks off at 3pm next Monday.