Could this Stoke star be the season’s ‘surprise’ package?

Bojan Krkic made his return to the Stoke City first team last Saturday as he featured in their 2-0 friendly defeat against Brentford.

The 24-year-old former Barcelona playmaker has not featured for the Potters after he suffered a serious knee injury in January against Rochdale in the FA Cup.

The road to recovery and first team football at that point seemed a long, long away for the attacking midfielder. However, after successfully coming through rehabilitation he is back well ahead of schedule, which is a huge positive for Stoke ahead of the new season.

The diminutive Spaniard showed why he played for Barcelona on occasions last term, and upon his pre-season return he netted a classy, dipping volley. The youngster oozed quality and settled well to life in the Premier League, quickly establishing himself as a vital member of Mark Hughes’ team quicker than most would of expected.

Bojan proved a former Barca player could well do it on a cold, wet night in Stoke. However, the injury curtailed his first season in England, and what an impressive debut season it could’ve been for the midfielder. But now he will be like a new signing for Hughes ahead of the upcoming season.

When he played last season he made a real difference for Stoke. His guile, class and graceful style allowed him to drop into pockets of space in front of the opposition defences, where he could affect the game by creating chances with his vision and passing ability, or score goals through his good accurate shooting and his ability to dribble at opposing defenders and ghost past players.

That is what he will give Hughes’ men, which is a vital attribute to have in the Premier League and a player who can do such things is a vital commodity for any team lucky enought to find them. And in Bojan, Stoke certainly have their man.

He has the ability and quality to be one of the best creative midfielders in the Premier League, and now that he is fit after months of injury he will have the chance to show that. He has the quality and ability of a luxury player, however Bojan is no luxury.

I would expect to see the attacker to build on his good first half of last season and get even better over the course of the season, scoring goals and getting assists for Stoke as they look to improve under Hughes.

He will quickly become the vital cog and member of Hughes’ side as the season progresses.