In March, there was a genuine concern for Stoke City fans that the team might end up in a relegation dogfight that they wouldn’t emerge from.
However, consecutive victories against QPR and Norwich at the end of April were followed up by a draw with Sunderland on May 6 to just barely confirm their Premier League status for next season.
There is still a tense atmosphere surrounding the Britannia stadium though, and Stoke City fans have begun to wonder if there is life beyond manager Tony Pulis, the man who led them to the Premier League in 2008 and has kept them there ever since.
Some supporters have become a little tired of his combative brand of play and want to see a more attacking style incorporated into their approach.
For this to occur, Pulis needs to add more innovative and creative individuals to his squad.
Here are three players that would help to achieve this goal and steer the Potters clear of the relegation zone.
During Queens Park Rangers brief renaissance between January and February, Adel Taarabt was at the heart of everything inventive they produced.
This finally proved that the Moroccan could handle the intense rigors of the Premier League, so, according to a report in The Sun, QPR have placed a £15million price tag on Taarabt in a bid to keep him at the club.
Stoke have shown in the past that they aren’t afraid to splash the cash when needed, and they would look to at least halve the above sum before bringing him to the Britannia.
Taarabt could bring dynamic class to Pulis’ team, as long as he is used right.
Wigan’s diminutive winger has turned into one of the Premier League’s most sought-after young talents thanks to his stirring performance in last Saturday’s FA Cup Final.
Since establishing themselves in the Premier League, Stoke have often deployed the likes of Matthew Etherington and Jermaine Pennant on the wings to provoke havoc in the opposition’s box, but the last 12 months has seen the influence from this position wane.
McManaman’s arrival would help take the club back to this approach and give fans a new exciting player to idolize.
Stoke City’s current band of strikers for next season includes Kenwyne Jones, Mamady Sidibe, Peter Crouch, Jonathan Walters and Cameron Jerome, each of whom (aside from Crouch) have never excelled in the Premier League.
With Stoke’s defence flourishing for large parts of the season, it’s clear where the team needs to be improved upon.
Darren Bent, according to The Guardian, has been frozen out at Aston Villa and now wants to leave the club. He would bring goals and experience to the Potters, and at 29 still has at least three good years ahead of him.
Plus, Stoke might also be able to get him on the cheap, and he's definitely worth the risk.