With Stoke’s place in the Premier League secure for another season, and Aston Villa hoping that Arsenal will be able to guarantee their top flight status for next year by beating Wigan at the Emirates on Tuesday, both clubs are perhaps moving on to consider how they can strengthen their sides for next season.
One man that has been linked with both teams is France U21 international Thievy Bifouma, who Espanyol might be prepared to let leave this summer due to their financial concerns.
Thievy has spent this season on loan at Spanish Segunda Division side Las Palmas, where he has scored 13 times to help his side into the final playoff place. As a result he has attracted plenty of interest from sides around Europe.
Espanyol are one of several La Liga sides with considerable financial difficulties, and could be prepared to sell Thievy this summer as his contract expires in 2014, meaning this window is their last chance to get a reasonable fee for the 20 year old.
Thievy can play on the flank of an attack, or through the centre, where he has enjoyed most of his success for Las Palmas.
Stoke will be looking to strengthen their attack in light of the poor return they have had from their strikers this season, with Peter Crouch, Kenwyne Jones, Cameron Jerome and Michael Owen all disappointing.
Aston Villa will be doing everything they can to hold on to Christian Benteke, and Thievy would ideally be coming in to support the Belgian striker and add depth to their attack, rather than as a replacement for him.
At 20, and clearly still unproven at the top level, Thievy would be unlikely to make a huge impact for either side next season, but he has all the attributes to be a fine player in the future, and either Aston Villa or Stoke would do well to bring him to the Premier League at a bargain price this summer.
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