Graphic: Stoke City’s strongest line-up, including four new signings

Stoke Britannia Stadium

Stoke City have made further improvements this summer.

Stoke City may still be looking for that big summer signing, but their activity so far has been impressive considering they have lost two key players.

Asmir Begovic joined Premier League champions Chelsea, while arguably the biggest loss was the departure of Steven N’Zonzi - the Frenchman joining La Liga side Sevilla.

Nevertheless, boss Mark Hughes has managed to strengthen other areas of the team as he bids to formalise a squad capable of breaking into the top eight.

Now that the Potters are an established side, challenging the league’s so-called 'big six' is the ultimate goal, but in the meantime getting the better of Everton, Swansea City and Southampton is the short-term aim.

The most notable arrivals tasked with helping the Midlands outfit succeed are Philipp Wollscheid on a permanent deal, Glen Johnson on a free, Marco van Ginkel on loan and Ibrahim Afellay from Barcelona.

The latter joins the likes of Bojan Krkic and fellow summer signing Moha El Ouriachi in arriving from the Nou Camp and represents a real statement of intent from Hughes’ side.

The Dutch international will likely slot into one of the wide roles, accompanying Bojan, Jonathan Walters and Mame Biram Diouf to form an excellent attacking quartet.

Fellow striker signing Joselu is also an option, though the Spaniard may need time to adjust to the rigors of Premier league football before staking his claim in the first-team.

In midfield, Marco van Ginkel has arrived on loan from Chelsea and the Dutch international represents a fine N’Zonzi alternative, possessing excellent awareness and passing ability from deep.

At the back, Jack Butland replaces goalkeeper Begovic while Johnson and Wollscheid come in, players who offer height, experience, composure and ability on the ball.

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