3 strikers Gary Rowett should sign at Stoke City
Gary Rowett completed his first press conference as Stoke City manager on Thursday. With both the Potters' fans and board demanding an immediate return to the Premier League, the 44-year-old is under huge pressure to deliver next season.
Rowett must strengthen his squad this summer. Particularly in attacking areas. Stoke have been strongly linked with three players since the Englishman took charge last month.
Afobe has appeared 64 times for Wolves over three separate seasons. The Congolese striker scored 29 goals during that time. After spending last campaign on loan from Bournemouth, he signed at Molineux permanently for £10 million. Although his deal was agreed just 11 days ago, Stoke have since taken a keen interest.
Currently lacking a reliable frontman, Afobe fits Rowett's mould. He is proven in the Championship. The 25-year-old struck 6 times in 16 appearances last campaign.
Readiness to give Wolves £12 million could lead to the Potters capturing their first signing of the summer. Should the deal take place, Afobe will make a big impression at Stoke. As well as providing a goal threat, winning aerial duels and holding up the ball, he will contribute to defensive duties.
A pacy striker who can also operate as a winger, Gray is another player linked to Stoke. The 26-year-old arrived at Watford for a club-record £18.5 million last summer. The Potters seem prepared to part with £14 million to secure his signature.
Gray would offer high energy. An attribute much-needed in England's second tier. He is also adept at playing short passes and shooting from long range.
Despite scoring only five times in 31 appearances for the Hornets last season, Gray's Championship record reads much better. In 88 matches, he's found the net on 41 occasions. He could fire Rowett's side to promotion next campaign. It will prove difficult prying him away from top-flight football, however.
The first rumoured transfer target after Rowett's arrival at Stoke, Vydra will be on many second-tier clubs' wish lists this summer. Perhaps some Premier League teams will show interest in the Czech attacker, too.
The Potters, though, have an advantage. Rowett knows Vydra from their time together last season. The two helped take Derby to the playoffs.
A £15 million bid is reportedly in the works. It won't prove easy enticing Vydra, though. Having ended last campaign as the Championship's top scorer with 21 goals, he's producing his peak with the Rams.
Stoke's attack is lacking ahead of next season. Both in quantity and quality. Peter Crouch, at 37, is unlikely to keep up with the Championship's demands. The 6'7'' forward will be used as an impact sub. Mame Biram Diouf, meanwhile, doesn't even have the quality to sit on the Potters' bench. Although the Senegal international gets a good grade for effort, he misses far too many clear-cut opportunities.
The only other contender is Tyrese Campbell. The 18-year-old graduate made only four appearances last season, though. Exciting fans with his energy isn't enough to claim Stoke's main striker role.
Rowett must sign a proficient goalscorer this summer. Afobe, Gray and Vydra all fit the profile. Securing two of those would be ideal. The Potters require genuine attacking threats in their battle to reclaim Premier League status.