Stoke City, Sarkic in, defensive additions – Is this Stoke City’s ideal starting XI for next season?

Sarkic in, defensive additions – Is this Stoke City’s ideal starting XI for next season?

Stoke City wasted no time in getting their summer preparations underway, with the Potters one of the first teams to release their retained list.

There were some long-standing names on that list in Nick Powell and Sam Clucas among others. But the release of such players marks the start of a new era at Stoke City, with Alex Neil looking to revamp the playing squad after a poor 2022/23 campaign.

The Potters have plenty of work to do before they can consider a promotion push, and even if they have a positive showing in the transfer market this summer, Stoke might find themselves finishing just short again.

But the club is making moves in the right direction and here we look at what the club’s ideal starting XI for next season might look like…

Stoke City, Sarkic in, defensive additions – Is this Stoke City’s ideal starting XI for next season?

First up is the goalkeeper. A new no.1 has been on Stoke’s transfer wishlist for some time now and last week, reports claimed that the club were closing in on signing Wolves loan man Matija Sarkic, although that move has since gone quiet.

And a new goalkeeper is just the tip of the iceberg for Stoke City. They relied quite heavily on loan players in the 2022/23 season – Dujon Sterling, Ki-Jana Hoever, Ben Pearson, and Will Smallbone were all key players for the Potters and all have since returned to their parent clubs.

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The main area to bolster this summer will be in defence. Neil will need two new full-backs on either side and a new centre-back with Phil Jagielka and Morgan Fox both released, leaving Ben Wilmot as Stoke’s best available option at the back right now.

And whilst defence is also in need of additions, so too is central midfield – Neil’s options in the middle are looking extremely light as things stand with Josh Laurent and Lewis Baker perhaps his only options in the middle of the park.

Moving forward on the pitch, Neil has Jacob Brown and Tyrese Campbell on either flank, and after decent showings from both players in 2022/23, Neil will hope that both can progress even more in the next season. But to do that they’ll need a good creative player in the no.10 role to compensate for Smallbone’s departure, and a better option in the no.9 position than Dwight Gayle who struggled in his first season at the bet365 Stadium.

So for Stoke City, there’s plenty of work to do in the summer. Neil has often hinted at a big summer of change at the club, but in truth, he might need a few transfer windows to really get this Stoke City side into shape and playing the way that he wants them to play.

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Stoke City, Sarkic in, defensive additions – Is this Stoke City’s ideal starting XI for next season?

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