Potters plan to snap up Dynamo Kiev star Andriy Yarmolenko
Stoke City, 11/8 for a top 10 finish again, are set to thrill fans with another exciting attacking acquisition this summer, as coach Mark Hughes reportedly lines up Dynamo Kiev wideman Andriy Yarmolenko.
The 24-year-old enjoyed his most prolific season to date last term, acting as a danger man for Dynamo with 21 goals in 39 appearances, and has previously been a rumoured target for Chelsea and Liverpool.
Ukraine international Yarmolenko can play on either wing, and would bring valuable experience to the Potters, having tasted silverware success as recently as last campaign, when he lifted the Ukrainian Cup.
Yarmolenko has also lifted the Ukrainian Premier League title, and was awarded the prestigious individual award of Ukrainian Footballer of the Year in 2013, but Dynamo could cash in on the star, who only has one year left on his current contract.
Stoke boss Mark Hughes has clearly been focusing on making additions in attack, after promising to transform his side into a more aesthetically pleasing team upon his arrival at the club last summer. The Potters have long been regarded as a defensive, tough tackling, long-ball side with little flair, a style many would argue has kept them afloat in the Premier League.
However, former Manchester United forward Hughes has begun to implement a new style at the Britannia, and the switch to a crisper passing and more attractive play has made headlines during pre-season. New signing Bojan Krkic, snapped up from Barcelona for a reported £3m fee, was an eye-catching acquisition with these plans in mind, and Hughes’ pursuit of Yarmolenko suggests he is not yet convinced with the current options at his disposal.
Yarmolenko would certainly be a further coup for the Midlands outfit, and another source of flair for a club that only netted 79 goals in the last two seasons. Having scored 15 times in 39 caps for Ukraine, the tricky attacker could form part of a new-look side, alongside Bojan and fellow new recruit Mame Biram Diouf.
This reported interest in Yarmolenko, who is believed to be valued at around £8m, has arisen as a mooted deal for Liverpool winger Oussama Assaidi, who enjoyed a fruitful loan spell at the Brittania last term, seems to have stalled.
Assaidi contributed five goals to the Potters’ cause last season, but it appears that Hughes now has other targets in mind, with Stoke, who are 6/5 to be top Midlands club this term, also linked to pacy Parma winger Jonathan Biabiany.
The Frenchman has sparked interest from a number of Premier League club, including Southampton and West Brom, meaning Hughes may have to work hard to bring him to the Britannia.