After 48 minutes of Stoke’s clash with Wigan Athletic on Tuesday evening, everything seemed to be going to plan for the Potters.
Tony Pulis’ men were comfortable at 2-0 up and with all the speculation over Kenwyne Jones’ Britannia future, it was a relief for all to see Peter Crouch get on the scoresheet for the first time since late September. Indeed, things were even looking bright on the transfer front, with American winger Break Shea finally on his way to the club after a month of constant speculation.
Fast forward 24 hours however and things are looking decidedly less rosy in the Britannia garden. First, Wigan extended their remarkable of never being beaten at Stoke during Roberto Martinez’ tenure as manager as they staged an improbable comeback to finish the game at 2-2, leaving Stoke still searching for a Premier League win in 2013.
Second, after the elation of ending his goal drought was there for all at the Britannia to see, it appears that Peter Crouch could be on his way out of the club to team up with Harry Redknapp once againat QPR.
With Jones’ future still undecided, it would be a shock if the England international, who became the Potters’ club record signing only 18 months ago, would be allowed to leave so quickly, but it appears that QPR’s offer for a player that is now 31 years of age, as well as Crouch’s personal relationship with Redknapp and desire to move back to London, could well make the deal the right one for all parties involved.
Thus, faced with the prospect of being shorn of two of his strikers, leaving him with only Jonathan Walters, Michael Owen and Cameron Jerome to choose from, it is no surprise to see Pulis linked with a move for Aston Villa striker Darren Bent.
An apparent fall out with Villa boss Paul Lambert may have stunted Bent’s involvement in the Midlands this season but there is no doubt that the nominally prolific 28-year-old represents a far bigger goal threat than all of Stoke’s current strike-force combined, even if one of Crouch or Jones is to remain at the club.
Certainly, were Bent to arrive then he would need to modify his rather individualistic game somewhat, particularly if he is to link-up with Walters. But for a Stoke side that has struggled to find the net all season long, Bent’s natural finishing prowess would go down a treat with the Britannia faithful.
Arguably even more intriguingly, Wednesday night also saw Stoke heavily linked with Birmingham goalkeeper Jack Butland. Under the terms of the deal, the young England international would return to this current club until the end of the season on loan before joining up with Pulis’ squad next summer. Stoke fans will hope that the arrival of Butland would be to provide competition for, rather than replace Asmir Begovic, whose impressive form this campaign has caught the eye of the bigger clubs.
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