And so it begins! The rumours, the speculation, the drama. Deadline day is on the horizon. Clubs will be battling it out for signatures until Wednesday’s11pm BST cut-off. Stoke have already been linked with West Brom want-away Saido Berahino, but Hughes can look elsewhere to bolster his forward line. Step forward, Wilfried Bony.
The ex-Swansea hitman was very much in the fold at Manchester City under former boss Manuel Pellegrini. Since the departure of the Chilean, Bony has fallen out of favour under new man in charge, Pep Guardiola.
Bony was in prolific form for the Swans, scoring 26 goals in 54 appearances. The move to the Etihad has restricted his minute on the pitch and he has netted only six times in 36 appearances.
Many questioned the move to the north-west as with most sides now playing only one out-and-out striker, Bony was never going to relieve Sergio Aguero of his duties. The emergence of youngster Kelechi Iheanacho has meant Bony has fallen even further down the pecking order at the Etihad.
Bony is yet to feature for City this season, and hasn’t even made the matchday squad of 18 for any of their five fixtures.
No lack of striking options for Mark Hughes
Bony isn’t the only player whose name has come through the Stoke rumour mill. Saido Berahino has also been linked with a move to bet365 Stadium.
Negotiations involving both players are relatively tricky. West Brom have had a guard around their prized asset for some time, and both targets have other clubs vying for their services.
Berahino’s saga is drawn-out, but the sale of the striker was no doubt hindered by Baggies ex-owner Jeremy Peace. Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Newcastle have all expressed interest in the 23-year-old.
Manchester City, on the other hand, are keen to let Bony leave on a season-long loan. Again, Stoke aren’t the only interested party as West Ham and Everton also reportedly eager to land the Ivorian.
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Bosses at the Etihad have reportedly told Bony he is able to choose his destination. With his family in Manchester, a move to Stoke would ensure they wouldn’t have to uproot at relocate.
A loan move won’t come cheap. City are alleged to want a fee of around £2m for Bony to depart for the rest of the season.
Hughes has options in the market before it closes. Both options would bring a new dimension to the Stoke forward line. Invest in youth with bags of potential? Or borrow a proven goalscorer?
Over to you, Mr. Hughes.