Grading Stoke City’s January Transfer Window

STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29: Bersant Celina of Stoke City is challenged by Jake Taylor of Stevenage during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round between Stoke City and Stevenage at Bet365 Stadium on January 29, 2023 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)
STOKE ON TRENT, ENGLAND - JANUARY 29: Bersant Celina of Stoke City is challenged by Jake Taylor of Stevenage during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round between Stoke City and Stevenage at Bet365 Stadium on January 29, 2023 in Stoke on Trent, England. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images) /

The calendar has now flipped from January to February. And with that, Stoke City have now entered crunch time this Championship season, as the club will have to continue to battle to stay above relegation position. But with the calendar flipping to February, that also means that the January transfer window has come and gone.

During this past month’s transfer window, Stoke City lost seven players to other clubs and added a total of five players to the team. As it always goes with transfer windows, most of the departing and arriving players from Stoke City were or are on loan.

Of those transfers, Harry Souttar going to Leicester City is the biggest loss for the team considering Souttar’s skill and being under contract with the team. And on the other side of the coin, Bersant Celina is probably the biggest addition for The Potters as he arrives on loan.

So with all of that, how did Stoke City do overall? What grade would you give the club and each transfer coming in? Are The Potters better off overall, the same, or worse? Let’s dive into every move from the January transfer window.

How Did Stoke City Fare in January’s Transfer Window?

Who Stoke City Lost:

Before we get into the additions to Stoke City and what their grades are. Let’s quickly run through who Stoke City lost this transfer window: Harry Souttar, Tariqe Fosu, Harry Clarke, Liam Delap, Jack Bonham, Gavin Kilkenny, and D’Margio Wright-Phillips.

Of those seven players two of them had barely, if any impact at all this season on Stoke City of course. Those two of the seven being Kilkenny and Wright-Phillips. As for the others though, losing your best center-back Souttar, one of your leading scorers Delap, your starting keeper for most of the season Bonham, and two players who contributed in Clarke/Fosu is a massive blow to The Potters.

Based on those losses alone, Stoke City was in a big hole this transfer window. And although we won’t go through each lost player like we will for The Potters additions (because frankly that’s just more fun), we will give a grade for Stoke City’s losses.

As far as for the rest of this season goes, Stoke City’s departure’s grade would hands down be an F. It has to be an F because of the loss of Souttar who was one of the most talented players on the club’s roster. Plus, the losses of Delap and others doesn’t do the team any good.

However, as far as the team’s departures past this season go, we’ll give the team’s departures a B. Even though Souttar would have benefited Stoke City’s roster in the long run, the fee Stoke City got for Souttar ($26 million) is a really good one. And in the long run that fee will go a long way to helping Stoke City add to the club’s roster.

Therefore, Stoke City’s departure grades for the long run rank higher than their departure grades for this season.

Who Stoke City Added:

As mentioned, let’s get to the fun part now — Which is grading and going through who Stoke City have added this January transfer window:

Midfielder Bersant Celina Grade – A: Celina comes in on loan from Dijon and as mentioned at the start of the article, so far presents the best addition for Stoke City. In his one match played so for for The Potters, Celina showed that he can be a key point to helping unlock Stoke City’s attack the rest of the season.

Celina offers great dribbling ability, vision, creative flare, touch, and quickness on the ball. He should be involved moving forward on plenty of goal creating or scoring chances.

Center-back Axel Tuanzebe – B+: Tuanzebe joins The Potters on loan from Manchester United. Tuanzebe over the past year has been out of commission due to injury. Tuanzebe prior to his injury though was a sought after addition for Premier League clubs and other teams in the top five European leagues.

Now that Tuanzebe is ready to return though, he now needs time back on the pitch to be ready for next season. And that’s where Stoke City can capitalize this transfer window. The Potters now have a very good short-term Souttar replacement who has the pace and physicality to help Stoke City’s backline the rest of the season.

Midfielder Ben Pearson – C: Pearson out of all the transfers this window represents the least exciting of options. That isn’t because Pearson doesn’t bring anything to the table, but it’s because Pearson is mostly coming in to be a midfield depth option.

Pearson on loan from Bournemouth should give The Potters some midfield depth for the rest of the season in case of injury.

Right full-back Ki-Jana Hoever – B: Hoever is a wildcard this transfer window as he brings a lot of talent to the team on loan from Wolverhampton. But what role will he play? Fellow loanee Dujon Sterling was brought in on loan from Chelsea to provide a talented full-back option on the right side for Alex Neil.

Sterling hasn’t been healthy this season. If Sterling continues to miss games, then Hoever will slot right into Stoke City’s right side and show off all of his talents. If Sterling can come back though like he has the past couple of weeks, than Hoever might be left on the bench for a number of matches.

Either way though Stoke City got themselves a great short-term right full-back to either give Sterling spells of games off or to start for the rest of the season.

Goalkeeper Matija Šarkić – B+: Šarkić is a very solid goalkeeper, as he comes to Stoke City from Wolverhampton on loan. Šarkić will most likely play next to Celina (and maybe Hoever), play the biggest role for Stoke City for the rest of the season.

Šarkić most likely was brought into the club to be the team’s number one keeper with Josef Bursik leaving. Jack Bonham has seen more starting minutes since the World Cup break, but that was likely to Stoke City trying to preserve Bursik from injury, since he was always likely on the move.

Šarkić should come right in the upcoming match days and be the team’s number one keeper. Šarkić should be a very solid keeper for the remainder of the season and help Stoke City keep the ball out of the back of their net.

Conclusion on Transfers:

Overall, this was a good window for Stoke City. It wasn’t a perfect window, but overall it was a really good one. Especially considering where Stoke City sit on the Championship table and their ability to not necessarily get the top transfer targets this window.

Almost all five of the Stoke City transfers coming in will play a big role or play a key depth role over the upcoming months down the relegation and promotion fight stretch.