By Calvin Palmer
With the new season in the Premier League two weeks old, it is a time when I am constantly seeking information as to whether or not my club, Stoke City, has signed any new players and not just any old players but players of real class and quality.
To date, Stoke City’s manager Tony Pulis has brought in Jonathan Woodgate and Matthew Upson, both on free transfers. So far he has not delved into the club’s coffers and paid hard cash.
Pulis keeps talking about the need to bring quality players in but I seriously question his definition of quality. Pulis had targeted Carlton Cole and a deal was agreed with recently relegated West Ham. Cole decided that Stoke was not good enough for him. Huge sighs of relief were exhaled throughout the Potteries.
Since then, Stoke have been linked with Joey Barton, Nickolas Bendtner, Peter Crouch and Wilson Palacios. Of those four, Barton and Bendtner are the pick of the bunch. I don’t particularly admire either of them of as people but they do have the kind of footballing quality that I appreciate.
With Barton’s astute football brain and passing skill, I could see Bendtner scoring a lot of goals from open play and not just set pieces, which are Stoke’s favourite modus operandi in terms of finding the back of the net.
With seven days to go before the transfer window closes, it seems all quiet on the transfer front as far as Stoke City is concerned. I have a feeling a flurry of activity will take place in the final 24 hours.
Online betting company SkyBet offers odds on transfer deals being completed within the summer 2011 transfer window. The adage that it is possible to place a bet on almost anything you care to name appears to be true along with “fools and their money are easily parted”.
SkyBet has these following odds for Stoke City signings:
1/3 to sign Peter Crouch from Tottenham Hotspur;
Evens to sign Nicklas Bendtner from Arsenal;
7/1 to sign Joey Barton from Newcastle United;
12/1 to sign Nicolas Anelka from Chelsea;
12/1 to sign Scott Dann from Birmingham City;
16/1 to sign Roman Pavlyuchenko from Tottenham Hotspur;
20/1 to sign Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea;
25/1 to sign Rob Green from West Ham;
33/1 to sign Scott Parker from West Ham;
40/1 to sign Adel Taarabt from Queens Park Rangers.
Slightly disconcerting for all Stoke City fans is SkyBet showing odds of 4/1 for Arsenal to sign defender Robert Huth and Bayern Munich are quoted at 12/1. If Pulis continues to play Huth at right back instead of his preferred position of central defender, I could see Huth being tempted. And a move to Bayern could well resurrect the German’s international career.
Not surprising, Stoke City does not appear among the odds for players such as Real Madrid’s Kaka or Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez. There is quality and there is quality.
By September 1 all speculation will end. The transfer window will close. Deals completed will be firm deals and not just newspaper talk.
Fingers crossed Stoke land at least Barton and Bendtner. Nicolas Anelka would also do nicely.
Stoke City are also reported to be tracking Uruguayan youth international Untidi who is said to be the new Messi.