With Mark Hughes now at their helm, Stoke City can begin their summer pursuit of squad improvements with a manager who is bound to have a very particular list of targets in mind.
With that being said, it remains uncertain just what kind of funds will be made available by Stoke chairman Peter Coates this summer, but that hasn’t stopped a variety of candidates from popping up in speculation.
With Marc Wilson, Andy Wilkinson, Geoff Cameron and Ryan Shotton all sharing the role between themselves last season, it’s fair to say that Stoke City have no solid option at left-back.
As things stand, the quartet have done a sufficient job at best covering the position, but Hughes may seek to acquire a talent all the more permanent in order to fill what’s a pretty evident void in his new side.
Simon Mullock of the Mirror has suggested that PSV Eindhoven’s Dutch international, Erik Pieters, is currently a top priority for Hughes this summer, following another impressive season in the Eredivisie.
The defender would supposedly cost the Potters a fee of £4 million and finally bring some security to an area of the squad left unsatisfied for quite some time now.
Paolo De Ceglie
Although the Italian boasts two Scudetto titles, Paolo De Ceglie hasn’t played as big a role in Juventus’ rise to power as he might have liked in the last two seasons.
What should be Hughes' priority for this summer's recruitment?
The 26-year-old is reported by talkSPORT as a target for Hughes’ Stoke City, driven on by the notion that the Old Lady are willing to let their fringe player leave the club.
Like Pieters, De Ceglie may be expected to do a job at left-back should he make his way to the Britannia Stadium but can also function in a more attacking sense should he be required to.
It’s uncertain just how much the Juve utility would cost if Stoke are to chase his signature, but a cut-price deal may be available depending on Juve’s eagerness to sell.