Stoke City’s slide down the table over the Christmas spirits has seriously soured the festivities for our punters from the Potteries in recent weeks, with our bar staff struggling to raise a smile from the men who follow Mark Hughes’ side so passionately.
Patience is beginning to run thin, and some of our regular Stoke fans are beginning to make grumblings surrounding the future of the former Manchester City boss.
January could be Hughes’ final chance to save the job he has occupied for four-and-a-half years, and beleaguered fans were in agreement with our landlord over a lunchtime pint that the first port of call in the window would be to address the leaky defence.
Just over halfway through the campaign, Hughes’ side have conceded an eye-watering forty-seven goals so far this season, a staggering nine goals more than West Ham United who hold the unenviable record of the second-worst defensive unit.
The problem needs to be addressed as soon as possible, and Hughes must source the right men to halt the slide.
Areas across the back-line were mentioned, but the chat with our landlord drifted towards the full-back positions, with a need to strengthen in this area important to Potters’ fans.
Coming up with a number of options, our landlord suggested an ambitious loan bid for former Newcastle United man, Davide Santon.
The Italian is currently on the books of title-chasing Inter Milan in his homeland, but has made just six starts in the league this season for the former European champions.
With his contract set to expire in the summer, the Italian giants may consider cashing in on the player now and reinvesting the cash in their squad as they attempt to take on Napoli, Juventus, Lazio and Roma for the Serie A title.
At the age of 27, Santon is in the midst of the peak years of his careers, and his addition to the squad at The Bet365 Stadium would mark a huge coup and improvement on the current options at the club.
Hughes is an ambitious boss and Stoke have money to spend, and our landlord is confident the player could be convinced to spend some time in the Potteries.
Stoke have an abundance of quality players on their books, and this talented squad should not be in the position they are in.
Pull off a deal for Santon, and Hughes will certainly have the Stoke supporters in The Tavern back on side.
Stoke fans, which area of your squad do you feel is the weakest at this stage? Have your say below…