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Stoke City are in the market for a new attacking player after having sold star man, Marko Arnautovic, to fellow Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion for a fee of £24million.
There were reports of a Stoke City move for Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend, with the Sun claiming that Stoke were considering going in with a £15million bid for the former Newcastle United and Tottenham Hotspur man. However, another potential signing that Stoke should consider taking a look at is former Olympique Lyon attacker Rachid Ghezzal.
The 25-year old, who is a free agent currently, after being released by the French outfit, had been monitored intently by the Potters last summer, along with the likes of Arsenal and Liverpool, as per reports from Goal France. And now that he is available for free, should Stoke revive their interest and make an attempt to sign him?
Ghezzal, an academy graduate from Lyon, broke into the senior team back in 2012 and went on to make 119 appearances for the club, scoring 14 goals and chalking up 20 assists against his name. Last season, he played 38 times producing 3 goals and 7 assists in all competitions. The returns may not have been mind-boggling, but there is enough to suggest that he can be a quality addition to the squad.
The eleven-time capped Algeria international can play anywhere in the attack – on both the flanks, or as a central attacking midfielder. On a few occasions, he has been deployed as a secondary striker as well by the French club. His experience of having played at the top level for a number of years now, despite being just 25 years old would mean he will add a lot of value to the Stoke team.
Ghezzal possesses that keen eye to thread a ball in behind defences to put his partners through on goal, which would add a cutting edge to the Potters attack in the final third. He can cut in from the flanks and have a go at the goal by himself, owing to his technical abilities. A more than decent dribbler of the ball, he backs himself to take on his man and beat him as well.
Manager Martin Hughes will definitely be under pressure to deliver, after a poor season last time around, and the loss of a player as important as Arnautovic will have a bad effect on the team. But in Ghezzal, Stoke could get their hands on a player of quality and experience, who has proven his abilities at the top level for a number of years now and can offer various options for the manager with his versatility. And all of that, he will come in for free. Seems like a no-brainer really, doesn’t it?