Stoke City completed their first signing of the summer when they signed midfielder Oghenekaro Peter Etebo from Portuguese side Feirense for £6.35m.
The Potters, having been relegated from the Premier League this past season, have brought in former Derby County manager Gary Rowett to lead them back to the English top-flight. And the 44-year old has made the 22-year old Nigerian midfielder his first signing at the Bet365 Stadium.
A box-to-box midfielder, Etebo is currently away on international duty with Nigeria for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. An energetic presence in the middle of the park, Etebo is known for his aggressive and tenacious approach on the field. And Stoke supporters will be hoping that their new player will play a key role in ensuring a swift return to the Premier League.
Following the arrival of Etebo, the Potters also signed striker Benik Afobe on a six-month loan deal from Wolverhampton Wanderers, with an obligation to make the deal a permanent one in January. Stoke offered £2m for the player, which Wolves found irresistible. The total cost of the transfer is £12m.
An experienced striker in the Championship, Afobe helped Wolves to earn promotion to the Premier League during his loan spell at Molineux in the second half of the 2017/18 campaign. He is a great addition to Stoke’s squad.
Here’s how Stoke could line up under Rowett next season, with their new signings in the team;
Manager: Gary Rowett
While Rowett did experiment with a five-at-the-back system towards his final days at Derby County, the 44-year old has preferred using a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3 setup for most parts of his managerial career. He is likely to go in with a similar formation at Stoke.
Lee Grant (GK)
With Jack Butland’s future up in the air, Lee Grant is likely to be handed the goalkeeping duties by the new manager. He has proven himself to be a reliable option between the sticks in the past and will hope to have a strong campaign next term.
Moritz Bauer (RB)
The Austrian full-back joined the club from Rubin Kazan in January and managed to put in a few solid displays towards the end of the campaign. He should be the first-choice right-back for Stoke heading into the next season.
Ryan Shawcross (CB)
The club captain and leader will have a huge role to play if Stoke are to bounce back to the Premier League at the first time of asking.
Bruno Martins Indi (CB)
The Netherlands international hasn’t shown any indication that he is looking to leave the club, following their relegation from the Premier League. He has the ability to make a difference at the back, provided he manages to stay fit.
Erik Pieters (LB)
An ever-present in the left-back slot for Stoke for many years now, the Dutchman should be trusted with doing the job in the Championship next season. But young Josh Tymon will push him for a place in the starting line-up.
Geoff Cameron (DM)
The 32-year-old versatile defender was reduced to a peripheral figure by former Stoke manager Paul Lambert. But Rowett should reinstate him into the starting XI, owing to his immense experience and proven pedigree. With Badou N’Diaye rumoured to heading for an exit, Cameron should slot into the two-man midfield pivot.
Oghenekaro Peter Etebo (DM)
An energetic, dynamic midfielder known for his exceptional work rate, Etebo, despite his age, portrays great maturity and leadership on the field. Expect him to make a serious impact in his debut campaign at the bet365 Stadium.
Mame Biram Diouf (RW)
The 30-year-old former Manchester United forward was one of Stoke’s better performers last season. With Xherdan Shaqiri set to leave the club, he is likely to occupy the right-flank.
Joe Allen (CAM)
The Welsh midfielder has been linked with a move away from the club but Stoke are understood to have offered Allen a new contract to keep hold of him. The former Liverpool man has immense quality and experience which would make a huge difference to this side next season.
Julien Ngoy (LW)
With Ramadan Sobhi joining Huddersfield Town, Stoke youngster Ngoy could find himself vying for a spot on the left flank. Highly rated within the club, the 20-year-old is pacey, powerful and can play in multiple positions up front.
Benik Afobe (ST)
The latest addition to the Stoke squad, the former Arsenal forward has proven his worth in the Championship previously. His 6 goals in 16 games for Wolves in the second half of the 2017/18 campaign was key to the club gaining promotion. He will hope to inspire Stoke to mount a serious promotion bid next season.