May 25, 2024

Changing face of Stoke City as Jared Dublin transfer net stretches across world

Transfer news as Alex Neil continues to oversee major changes at Stoke City

A points-based system for work permits remains in place – but clubs in the top two divisions can sign a maximum of four players who do not meet the automatic criteria, which pretty much limits the pool to players who play regularly in a top division or regular internationals from countries in Fifa’s top 50 world rankings.

Alex Neil has given his Reading FC verdict with warning for Stoke City  players ahead of clash - Berkshire Live

Neil has pointed to the difference in asking prices too between a young player from the Premier League and someone with similar attributes from abroad.

Leading agent Gary Mellor had said back in June, as the window was just opening and three weeks or so before Stoke got their recruitment ball really rolling: “I think it will (have an immediate impact) if clubs are smart. They’ll be offered players too. I know players who clubs have been offered in the Championship but on the points system can’t get a visa. Now we can get young Americans and South American…

“It’s a good thing for English football. It’ll open up the world.”

So it has proven.

It must be a dream for a head of recruitment like Jared Dublin, who joined the club in July and has been tasked with putting together a whole new squad.

Neil said soon after his appointment: “I think that’s a great bit of business for the club, I really do. I think that he’s got a great balance between understanding what’s going on and sort of the news from the market in terms of what deals are getting done – but also being able to recognise what all the key players are like.

“His knowledge of players is freakishly good in terms of who’s on the market, who’s available, who’s the best left centre-back in Sweden. He lives and breathes it.”

Dublin himself described it as a “once in a lifetime type of opportunity” – and it’s understood he hasn’t even had a chance to watch Stoke live in person yet because he’s been out looking for possible targets, including in England.

He explained when he introduced himself to supporters: “We’ll be on our bike, we’ll be traveling probably a bit more than previously, but that was dictated to by GBE and the financial situation of the club. The fact that we are more of a blank canvas, a blank sheet of paper, we need to be prepared to operate in different markets and be nimble but be prepared.”

Summer signings so far

Ben Pearson – Bournemouth, undisclosed

Andre Vidigal – Maritimo, undisclosed

Daniel Johnson – Preston, free

Ryan Mmaee – Ferencvaros, undisclosed

Wesley Moraes – Aston Villa, undisclosed

Michael Rose – Coventry, free

Enda Stevens – Sheffield United, free

Chiquinho – Wolves, loan



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South Korea starlet Bae Jun-ho is expected to join Stoke City in a deal worth around £2 million according to overnight reports in Seoul.

The playmaker, who turned 20 on Monday, could sign off at Daejeon Hana on Friday night against Jeonbuk Hyundai – in the closing stages of the K-League season as his team chase now unlikely qualification to the Asian Champions League – or by then he could already be on his way to England to conclude a summer-long saga.

Jun-ho started to break into the Daejeon first team last season as they won promotion and he has been a key player this season, coming to wider prominence thanks to his performances with South Korea, helping reach the semi-finals of both the under-20s World Cup and under-20s Asian Cup this year.

Daejeon coach Lee Min-seong said: “Of course, from my point of view, it’s better for Jun-ho to stay. He is a really talented player and he could be a much bigger player. He is right to go to Europe. Isn’t it meaningful to see a Daejeon Hana Citizen player in Europe? I hope Jun-ho will go to Europe and grow into a player who represents Korea.”

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