Stoke City Football Club are in need of some sort of a change in their attacking philosophy. The club could not score goals in the league under Tony Pulis, and things have not gotten any better under new manager Mark Hughes. The club has scored 210 goals in 212 English Premier League matches since returning to the top flight in 2008.
Stoke has survived in all five of those seasons so far having hit at least 40 points and finishing between No. 11 and No. 14. This season, though, is not looking very look good as the club is currently sitting in 14th place just four points above the relegation zone with a critical match away to Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday.
The club has identified two targets they are working to acquire in the last few days before the close of the transfer window on Friday. Ironically they are looking at their next opponent scouting forward Steven Fletcher and midfielder Lee Cattermole. A report states that Stoke is interested in signing both Fletcher and Cattermole for a transfer fee of about £10 million.
Fletcher would be a nice addition to the club even though he has struggled to find his form this season. The 26-year-old Scottish international has only found the net three times in 18 appearances this year after scoring 11 goals in the Premier League last season. Fletcher has essentially been splitting the minutes at forward with American striker Jozy Altidore since neither has found a consistent run of good form that would earn them the job.
These minutes may be hard to come by as manager Gus Poyet is in the process of bringing in Ignacio Scocco from Internacional of Brazil. The club has also recalled 20-year-old Connor Wickham who has spent the last few months on loan with Sheffield Wednesday. This influx of attacking players could make Fletcher disposable paving the way for this transfer.
Fletcher will need to come in and make an immediate impact for the Potters who are still throwing Peter Crouch out at forward even though the former England international is a shell of his old attacking self. Stoke has almost abandoned Kenwyne Jones who appears to be moving to Cardiff City before the end of the transfer window. The Potters picked up a solid young striker in John Guidetti; the 21-year-old Sweden international is on loan from Manchester City, but he has only seen the field as a sub.
The other part of the deal would see 25-year-old defensive midfielder Lee Cattermole moved to the Potters. Cattermole is a very fiery player who will fit in right away with the hard-tackling style of Stoke City. Being a more defensive-minded player, he should allow for Steven N’Zonzi to play a little more forward in support of Charlie Adam.
Stoke currently has been rotating Glenn Whelan and Wilson Palacios at the second defensive midfielder spot, but bringing in Cattermole should solidify that spot to add a little consistency to the starting eleven. A roster spot opened up after Stoke loaned American midfielder Maurice Edu to the Philadelphia Union of MLS for a year with an option to buy.
These transfers are far from confirmed, but for Stoke they will be a needed shot in the arm. Bringing in new players, especially ones with some talent will push the old guard to play to keep their spot in the squad, is a wise move. That push will be much-needed as Stoke look to stay alive for another season in the Premier League.