It looks like DJ Peter Crouch has had a busier summer than his club this transfer market, after the striker took over the mic at Radio X rock station for two weeks. Whist he was busy on the decks, fellow forward, Marko Arnautovic was sold to West Ham for £20 million (could rise to £25 million).
The Austrian frustrated last season, producing some strong performances but, like Shakiri, showed inconsistency. Wether West Ham, who he described as a ‘bigger and more ambitious club’ will bring the best out in him, only time will tell.
Other signings include Darren Fletcher from West Brom on a free, Kurt Zouma from Chelsea on loan and winger Eric Maxwell Choupo-Moting from Schalke.
So what are Stoke’s chances this season?
After a poor start to last season where they conceded 15 goals and picked up just two points in the first six matches, Stoke managed to hit some form with wins against Sunderland, Hull City, Watford and Burnley, meaning they were able to survive another dip post xmas; they finished 13th with 44 points.
With Arnautovic’s departure, Stoke will be looking to Peter Crouch, last season’s club top scorer, to be firing on all cylinders. Crouch, who recently quashed rumours that he skipped a line in a taco take-away restaurant whilst singing ‘crouchy’s having his nachos’, is 7/2 for club top scorer. Sheridan Shaqiri is on at 4/1, whilst Mame Biram Diouf is at 11/2.
The Potters have a good chance to finish in the top 10 according to bookies, who have them at 9/4 and 5/2, whilst 10Bet are offering 12/5.
Odds being offered for relegation are 5/1,6/1, 11/2 and Unibet offering the best odds at 7/1.
The first game away at Everton looks to be a tough match for the Potters with odds of 9/2 and 17/4 being offered by most bookies, whilst BetVictor and Bet365 are offering 19/4.
The first home game, will be at their recent rivals, Arsenal where the bookies have been more favourable offering 16/5, 15/4 and BetVictor at 4/1. This fixture has often proved hard for Arsenal, who still hold a reputation for being ‘bullied’ on the pitch. In recent years though, the attacking playing style of Stoke has gone some way to tempering the image of the Potters as a ‘rugby team’.
Will this season be when the likes of Bojan and Shakiri light up those wet and windy days on Stoke? well, the bookies are yet to decide - the odds suggest a mid table(ish) finish, with a similar trajectory to last season.