Stoke City transfer analysis: Potters after former United striker, Ireland set for permanent switch

With nothing confirmed as of yet, Hughes will be working hard on deals with players from Manchester City, Aston Villa and other clubs.

Despite enjoying a mixed 2013/14 season so far, Stoke City boss Mark Hughes will be eager to strengthen as much as possible in the transfer window.

Yet to make a move after the first ten days of the window, the club are now working on a number of ins and outs, with striker reinforcements being a particular area of focus.

Stoke are in 12th place in the Premier League, just one point off the top half of the table, but have gone through spells of poor form that has seen them remain on the cusp of a relegation dogfight. Hughes will know that a couple of bad results will see them dragged right back into it, and as ever, the transfer window will prove to be his method for staying clear of such a nerve-wracking end to the season.

Below we look at some of the major stories on the radar: 

Mame Biram Diouf transfer could be a real scrap

The Hannover man is a much sought after player right now, and Stoke know more about him than most having kept him on their radar since last January's window. Hughes remains keen on the former United striker, who has excelled since moving to Germany three years ago, scoring 32 goals in 63 games.

He has clearly made an impression on former United greats now in management, with new Cardiff City boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who worked with Diouf in the reserves at Old Trafford and shares his Molde connections, rumoured to have made a bid.

Diouf's contract expires at the end of the season, meaning he would be available at a discounted price, and was late returning from the German winter break after contract talks with his club had stalled. 

Ireland set to sign permanent deal

The former Manchester City player is set to sign a long-term deal at the club after impressing on loan from Aston Villa. Ireland has excelled under previous boss Hughes, scoring 3 goals in 16 games for the Potters this season, more than he managed in 3 years at Villa Park, and will sign for free as he is in the final few months of his Villa contract. 

A permanent transfer would also free up a space for Stoke to take another Premier League player on loan.

Other News

Hughes has decided against signing Lacina Traore on loan after the new Monaco striker was said to only be available for a €2 million and wages of up to £40,000-a-week.

Like Stephen Ireland, Oussama Assaidi has impressed on loan from Liverpool. He is another that Hughes may seek to sign permanently if he feels he has seen enough Premier League quality.

Ireland or Assaidi's likely long-term move could see the confirmation of John Guidetti's loan move from Manchester City. The Swedish starlet had a fantastic loan spell at Feyenoord a couple of years ago, but has had little game time since then. A Premier League loan would be fantastic for all parties. 

Wolfsburg have spurned interest from Stoke in Croatian striker Ivica Olic, with the club’s sporting director Klaus Allofs labelling the transfer speculation "totally odd".

And finally, there is some media attention on apparent Stoke interest in Charlton's 26-year-old midfielder Dale Stephens.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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