Stoke City’s summer of planning their route back to the Premier League is proving to be ambitious and meticulous following their relegation to the Championship last season.
Gary Rowett’s side have wasted no time in setting about their transfer business, and their efforts could be set to be rewarded, with the Stoke Sentinel reporting that the Potters are closing in on a triple signing which could be completed before the start of the season.
The report suggest that Rowett expects to seal the signings of Tom Ince from Huddersfield Town, Aston Villa defender James Chester and winger James McClean from West Bromwich Albion ahead of Stoke’s opening match in the Championship against Leeds United.
It would come as a major boost to the Potters’ promotion hopes if all three permanent deals could be completed, and each are appearing increasingly likely.
Aston Villa are in deep financial trouble and would surely be keen to sanction the sale of Chester to help ease their problems, whilst Ince played the best football of his career to date in the Championship with Derby County, where he established himself as a star.
The deal for McClean is said to be the most difficult to complete, having been in the pipeline for some time, but Stoke manager Rowett is apparently confident of securing the Irishman’s services this summer.
The reported figure required to seal the triple deal is £25m, with Ince set to command £10m and McClean approximately half of Ince’s fee at around £5m. Meanwhile, the apparent fee required to secure Chester from Villa would be around £8m.
It is a considerable outlay for Stoke following their relegation from the Premier League, but the new arrivals would provide a great boost and an injection of fresh impetus at the bet365 Stadium ahead of what is likely to be a tough campaign in the English second tier.
Furthermore, it is apparently expected that the Potters will look to recoup some funds through the sales of Giannelli Imbula and Maxim Choupo-Moting among others at the club.
Meanwhile, the future of Jack Butland at Stoke beyond this summer remains unclear, with a number of Premier League clubs very much active in the market for new goalkeepers this summer.
Matt Ritchie has also been heavily linked with a potential switch from Newcastle to the bet365, but it is thought that any further arrivals of Ritchie’s value would depend on sales of further Stoke players, with the club said to be reluctant to sanction such a clear out.