Stoke interested in summer swoop for striker Ivica Olic
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes has confirmed his interest in bringing 34-year-old Croatia striker Ivica Olic to the Britannia Stadium from Wolfsburg.
Left-footed forward Olic, who has played at two World Cups (and is set to go to a third where he is a 200/1 outsider for the Golden Boot), has spent the last seven years playing in the Bundesliga.
“It’s fair to say he’s an interesting player,” Potters boss Hughes told the local press. “And one I faced as a manager in the past and have always been impressed with. There’s an interest there and we will see how it progresses.”
Former Hamburg and Bayern Munich attacker Olic, who also spent three-and-a-half seasons with CSKA Moscow, recently claimed Stoke had made contact with him over a potential summer switch to the Premier League.
“Wolfsburg have offered me a new contract which is for one year and then another optional year,” the tabloids have quoted him as saying. “The money is great but I haven’t made a decision yet. I have also got an offer from Stoke.
“I talked with the manager [Hughes] and president [Potters chairman Peter Coates] of that club and I saw that they really want me. I must admit, playing another year against the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United sounds good to me.”
Capped 89 times by Croatia, Olic has scored 16 international goals and fits the Stoke template for physicality and hard work well.
Olic’s most famous strike came against England in a 3-2 Wembley win in Euro 2008 qualifying, which cost Steve McClaren his job as Three Lions boss. He also netted a group stage winner against Germany at the tournament finals.
Most of Hughes’ forward options at the Britannia are under contract until 2015 or longer. He will lose loan signings Oussama Assaidi, who is currently out injured, and John Guidetti back to their parent clubs, but the likes of Peter Crouch, Peter Odemwingie and Jon Walters should all remain Potters players next season.
Veteran Olic, who has scored over 200 club career goals, added he will wait to decide on his future. Stoke’s chances of signing him seem to hinge on Hughes preserving their top-flight status.
The Potters are 8/1 shots to be relegated, with Coral currently rating six Premier League sides more likely for the drop. They are also heavily odds-on at 1/16 to stay up.