Porto defender Bruno Martins Indi and Manchester City striker Wilfried Bony are at Stoke for medicals ahead of season-long loan moves, according to reports, with both likely to walk straight into the struggling Potters’ XI.
After a winless start to the Premier League campaign, Mark Hughes’ men are out to 5/2 with bwin to finish in the top ten this term, despite managing ninth in each of the Welsh gaffer’s three years in the job.
Hughes is clearly working to fix earlier mistakes though, having neglected his steady squad with a mere three captures this summer, two of them 19-year-olds and the other Joe Allen.
Martins Indi’s presence will allow Stoke to revert to the 3-5-2 formation trialled by Hughes during pre-season, after the 52-year-old’s compatriot Chris Coleman’s Euro 2016 exploits with Wales using the same system.
Philipp Wollscheid is thought to be on his way to Wolfsburg, so replacing the 27-year-old with a versatile left-sided defender makes sense for a manager constantly looking to develop the Staffordshire outfit.
The 24-year-old also brings bags of experience, with 15 Champions League appearances over the past two seasons with Porto, following six games for Netherlands at the last World Cup.
He won’t excite the fans nearly as much as Bony though, especially after 35-year-old Peter Crouch’s frustrating 65 minutes in the 1-0 loss away to Everton.
Potters fans who cheered the former Liverpool, Tottenham and England forward’s £10m capture five years ago, outside what was then known as the Britannia Stadium, probably didn’t think they’d have to suffer him this long, but the man they call ‘Daddy Cool’ has come to save the day.
The Ivorian scored 28 times in 54 Premier League matches for Swansea before his £25m move to Manchester City in January 2015, where it was clear he would never be first-choice striker.
Back as a big fish in a small pond, Bony could be the man to set a decent Stoke side on course for more top-ten honours.
Lest we forget, Stoke didn’t win any of their first six Premier League fixtures last season.