Mark Hughes’ Stoke City finished ninth in the Premier League for a third season running.
Defensively Stoke weren’t much better than their Premier League competitors as several clubs managed to concede almost the same amount of goals.
The main problem for Stoke has been their attacking prowess. The Potters could manage only 41 goals in the Premier League last term, the least scored by a top half team. Most top half teams have scored more than 59 goals with Manchester United being an exception with 49.
If Hughes’ side plan to finish above ninth position this year, they need to improve upon their strikers. Here are some options to consider for Mark Hughes…
It was a season of underdogs for sure. Apart from Leicester’s fairy tale campaign, promoted club Watford possessed two lethal players when it came to scoring goals. One of them being Odion Ighalo.
The Nigerian had a terrific first season at Watford, scoring 16 goals and clinching five assists in 37 appearances in the Premier League.
Prising away the Nigerian, who is now in his prime years at 27 years of age, will be difficult and with new manager at helm, the task has become tougher.
The other in-form Watford striker was the club captain Troy Deeney. Leading by example, he was the perfect partner to Ighalo’s exploits.
The Englishman contributed 13 goals and eight assists in all 38 games for Watford, the striking duo were one of the best in the Premier League.
Now aged 28, Deeney like his partner would be a difficult transfer to be sealed.
The Spaniard scored six goals for Newcastle United last season. Although the contribution couldn’t save Newcastle from relegation, Perez is quite a decent striker.
But Rafa Benitez might not be much willing to part with his Spanish player, with the striker expected to stay and continue his development with the club, prising Perez away looks a tough job.
Jordan Ayew’s first season at Aston Villa didn’t turn out well. Although the Ghanaian striker was the clubs top scorer with seven goals in 30 Premier League appearances, he couldn’t prevent the club from getting relegated.
Aston Villa owner Tony Xia took to Twitter to strongly claim that he will be going nowhere: “As I said before, Ayew will stay! No more clauses!”
Sorting out his future with the club would be a top priority for Ayew himself. Although he is tied with the club until 2020, he would be glad to explore other options, rather than playing in the second tier of English football.
A loan move for the 24-year-old would be a decent move, giving Mark Hughes better options and it would enough to keep all the parties involved happy.
The young Englishman wanted to secure a move away from The Hawthorns, but failed in his attempts. Following a spat with the club’s chairman, the summer was seen as a time for Berahino to leave.
But things aren’t going as expected.
After 13 goals in 2014-15 season, the Englishman had a poor season by scoring only four over 31 appearances in the Premier League.
Aged 23, things might improve for Berahino and Stoke City can provide him the space and a new lease of life to excel.
Aleksandar Mitrovic is one of Newcastle’s most talented strikers. Good strength, speed and aggression surely helps him to be a threat to Premier League defenders.
Newcastle were relegated, and sadly his performances have gone in vain as the Serbian notched nine goals and four assists in 34 appearances last term.
Aged 21, the player could be dejected to see himself in the second tier of English football, especially after featuring in the Champions League prior to his transfer to Newcastle.
This transfer would be worth the gamble for Mark Hughes.
The Belgian’s superb performances for Aston Villa convinced Brendan Rodgers to move for Christian Benteke.
After meeting his release clause of £32.5million, he became their second most expensive transfer of all time. He scored a brilliant overhead kick against arch rivals Manchester United in 3-1 defeat at Old Trafford, Benteke was tipped to be a superb signing for Liverpool.
After injuries, Benteke wasn’t sharp, had lost form and was dropped from the first steam squad too. The Belgian managed only nine goals and three assists in 29 outings in the Premier League.
Benteke needs game time in order to regain his sharpness. Mark Hughes may be sceptical to shell out a ‘real offer’ for the Belgian, but a loan move will be helpful for both the parties.
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