After a tumultuous year in the Premier League Stoke City find themselves within the bottom three with an insurmountably amount of points required to make it to safety.
Having been promoted to top flight Premier League football for the 2008-2009 season, Stoke City have been a mainstay in the league for nearly a decade. Their seasonal table positions has spanned 9th at the highest, and 14th at the lowest in that tenure, before this relegation season.
As memory serves, that is what Stoke City was in the Premier League – a mid table fixture. They were never going to win the league, but they seemed like a stable organization that perennially would reside in the Premier League. Honestly, it will be odd having a Premier League season without the red-and-white stripes of Stoke represented in the league.
So what went wrong for Stoke this year to lead to relegation? It seems that star keeper, Jack Butland, would believe it to be player recruitment.
“Too many of the recent investments have been completely unused and that’s unacceptable, that’s got to be looked at because it’s been farcical really.”
With money getting splashed at a ridiculous pace in European football, Stoke City did not seem like they could keep up financially in one of the best and most competitive leagues in the world. What is really a shame was the writing on the wall for this season to be a let down when star player Marco Arnautovic demanded a transfer away from the club.
Despite the signing of Choupo-Moting for the now vacant left-midfield side, Stoke were unable to rebound from the loss of Arnautovic. He is a creative player and has strong crossing abilities, which maximized his importance to Stoke who rely on tall, targetmen in the box.
Stoke’s list of transferred out players is actually pretty concerning when looking at it. Five of their last eight transfers have been to Premier League teams, including West Ham, Newcastle, Burnley, and Watford. While being a selling club is sometimes all a team can do to stay afloat, consistent selling to midtable competition in your same league is a recipe for disaster.
So what is next for Stoke? As far as players are concerned it seems like a quite a few will go. Brought in in January from Galatasary, Badou Ndaiye will likely go, along with Joe Allen, Xherdan Shaqiri, Kurt Zouma, and for sure Jack Butland.
Seen in tears following his teams relegation against Crystal Palace, keeper Jack Butland will be in high demand this summer and will return a pretty penny. Tailor made for Liverpool, who have been chasing an elite keeper for some time? Or perhaps a team looking to take the next step forward like West Ham United? Regardless of where he lands the fee should be rather substantial and reminiscent of Jordan Pickford to Everton last season after Sunderland’s relegation.
With the carrion birds circling above the relegated corpse of Stoke City it is time for a hard goodbye for the Potters and their fans. Will they be promoted right away again? Perhaps, but with the level of football raising to all new heights in the English Championship it will be anything but a sure thing to see Stoke back in the Prem at a moments notice. Still, it will be odd not having them back next season.
Fair well Stoke City, see you soon!