Mark Hughes may be tasked with changing the very ethos of Stoke's play, but it will be a slowly, slowly approach. His first task will presumably be to bring some full-backs to the club, but Hughes will also be in the market for a goalscorer. Will he rely on players that he knows?
Last Updated: 15/06/13 12:26pm
What's been said: "Stoke have been in the Premier League for a number of years now and have the understanding of what it takes to win Premier League games. It's not a case of wiping away the hard work of previous seasons. I'd like to make then a little bit more offensive but we're not going to chuck the baby out with the bathwater. It's about steady progress" - Mark Hughes.
The budget: Peter Coates' millions always supported Tony Pulis, so it's difficult to imagine Hughes won't be given a rather chunky wedge to spend, even if he did rather waste a similarly generous budget at QPR last season.
What's needed: We don't want to instil false hope here, but since Pulis didn't sign a single specialist full-back in his eight years in charge, it's easy to see why Stoke fans might be getting giddy. Erik Pieters of PSV Eindhoven is the early favourite for this honour, if the rumour pages are anything to go by.
Beyond that, some general defensive cover might be handy, as would another winger and a striker that, you know, scores some goals. Stoke found the net only 34 times in the league last season, with Jonathan Walters finishing top scorer with a whopping eight. There's talk that Peter Crouch could be ushered out of the door, making room for a proper centre-forward. Asmir Begovic could leave, but as Coates confirmed this week, they signed his replacement, Jack Butland, in January.
Ideal signing: The full-back role is key, and Pieters would be step in ensuring Hughes' insistence that Stoke can be a better side to watch. He has 17 caps for the Netherlands, and was linked with Newcastle last summer.
Sky Bet: Stoke fans may be dreaming of a new Samba style now Tony Pulis has departed but there is little indication of them securing the suitable tools in our Transfer Specials. Mark Hughes learnt a tough lesson in making too many changes too quickly with his overhaul at QPR, so he is presumably taking a different approach at the Britannia Stadium. Oddly, though, the only player the Potters are currently favourites to sign is one who Hughes left at the doomed Hoops, Shaun Wright-Phillips, while they are 10/1 to sign Scott Sinclair and 14/1 to land Darren Bent. Transfer specials here
Release list: Michael Clarkson, Rory Delap, Matthew Gledhill, Jadan Hall, Matthew Lund, Andrew Musungu, Carlo Nash, Michael Owen, Jermaine Pennant, George Rigg, Mamady Sidibe, Matthew Upson, Dean Whitehead
Read our up-to-the-minute live Stoke transfer feed here