To say it was a frustrating season for Stoke City would be an understatement, with the Potters struggling for a positive run of results in the 2020/21 campaign, whilst under the management of Michael O’Neill.
Stoke finished 14th in the Championship table after running out 2-0 winners over AFC Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on the final day of the season.
That doesn’t tell the full story to Stoke’s season though, with the club’s supporters having to endure a disappointing run of results prior to that win over the Cherries in May.
A six-game winless run from April to May saw them tumble down the second-tier standings at an alarming rate, and they’ll be eager to turn their attentions to the upcoming league campaign.
It’s likely to be a summer of change at the bet365 Stadium though, with players being linked with departures, whilst others have been linked with moves to the club ahead of the new season.
One of those to be linked with a move to Stoke this summer is former Norwich City midfielder Mario Vrancic, with The Telegraph’s John Percy revealing that the Potters are close to finalising a deal to land the 32-year-old’s signature, with a medical having already taken place.
Vrancic caught the eye with a number of impressive showings during his time at Carrow Road with the Canaries, which includes playing his part in their two promotion-winning seasons.
The German midfielder signed for Norwich in 2017, and went on to score ten goals and provide seven assists for his teammates in their promotion-winning season in 2018/19.
He then made 20 appearances for the Canaries in the Premier League, before making 34 appearances for Daniel Farke’s side in the 2020/21 season, as they returned to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
But Vrancic left the club upon the expiration of his contract at Carrow Road this summer, and seemingly is set to return to the Championship in the near future.
Stoke would be signing a player with experience at this level, and with his promotion-winning experience, this could turn out to be a shrewd signing by Michael O’Neill’s side.
Daniel Farke has previously claimed that Vrancic can produce ‘magic moments’, which will be pleasing to hear for the Stoke City supporters, who will be hoping that Vrancic can make an instant impact with the club.
“I try to judge him in a balanced way. From the outside, he is always judged strangely. When he is on the bench, and he produces magic moments, then it is the head coach is so stupid, this lad has to start every game.”
It’s previously been reported by Football Insider that Stoke are willing to listen to sell Sam Clucas this summer, providing their £3million valuation is matched, and so it makes sense for the Potters to look at adding another midfielder to their squad.
Additional depth is certainly needed within the Stoke squad, and they couldn’t do much better when it comes to having a somewhat ‘safe signing’, as there won’t be any concerns over whether Vrancic can adjust to the physical demands of the Championship, having featured regularly in the second-tier.
It’d be a real statement of intent by Stoke if they can strike an agreement to land Vrancic’s signature ahead of their season opener against Reading on Saturday 7th August, O’Neill will be delighted to get such a good player in his squad.