As we approach the end of this season Stoke face the real possibility of relegation. With the new television deal coming into play next season this situation becomes more worrying.
Stoke may well stay up this year and if they do there could be an important decision to make for the clubs board.
In the past it would have been unthinkable that Tony Pulis’ job would be at risk after leading Stoke into the Premier League and then reinforcing their position there with mid-table finishes. But a lot has changed since then.
In Stoke’s first season in the Premier League they finished 12th making the Britannia a fortress by winning an impressive 10 out of their 19 home games and losing just four.
Stoke have been renown as a ‘long ball’ team who rely on set-pieces however, they managed to finish mid-table for the next three seasons with their highest finish being 11th in the 2009/10 season.
Many fans are now voicing their discontent at the teams lack of progress in the last few years.
Stoke have spent more than £80 million in the past five years. Pulis’ transfer dealings have come under scrutiny though; technical players like Sanli Tuncay have been bought only for them to sit on the sidelines.
Stoke purchased Dave Kitson and Tuncay for more than £10 million and these players didn’t perform for the club on any level. They were then sold on for a big loss. This has become a recurring theme and means that overall, Stoke are the third highest net spenders per season behind only Manchester City and Chelsea.
Tony Pulis has been a great servant for the club and what he has achieved is really impressive but Stoke’s form has been dropping and their negative, physical football has become harder to tolerate without good results to match.
There’s no room for sentimentality in football as shown by Southampton earlier this year. When Southampton sacked Nigel Adkins there were some major question marks raised, however Pochettino has now answered his critics by beating sides like Manchester City and Chelsea to all but secure their Premier League status.
What makes this all the more impressive is that he did it whilst playing good, attractive football. He now looks like he could take the club onto the next level. This is the kind of person that Stoke need to bring in, I think Pulis has reached a point when he can take the club no further.
Perhaps somebody like Thomas Tuchel could do a good job. His managerial record at Mainz in the Bundesliga is better than Klopp’s when at the same club, and this speaks for itself however it may be a hard job to tempt him into taking the role at the Britannia.
I think it could be an interesting summer for Stoke and whilst replacing Pulis would be a huge risk it might be the only way to take the club onto the next level. For now though, the club needs to focus on staying in the Premier League.
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