Stoke turn to Man City striker Edin Dzeko after missing out on Shaqiri
Stoke City, 13/8 with Coral for a top 10 finish, have been linked with launching an audacious loan bid for Bosnia international and Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko, with the Eithad outfit set to sign Wilfried Bony from Swansea City.
Potters boss Mark Hughes was also interested in Switzerland’s Kosovo-born attacker Xherdan Shaqiri, but the Bayern Munich player chose Serie A side Inter Milan instead.
It seems the chief factor governing Stoke hopes of pulling this Dzeko move off relates to how inbound City purchase Bony and the Ivory Coast get on at the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).
Coral make the Elephants 4/1 joint-favourites to win that continental competition outright with Algeria, and they do have a history of reaching the business end of it. The longer before Bony can pull on a City shirt, the less likely Stoke seem to get Dzeko.
By the same token, the Potters are without Senegal forward Mame Biram Diouf, because his country have called him up for the AFCON tournament finals.
The Lions of Teranga are in the toughest group in Equatorial Guinea, however, and rated 5/1 pool outsiders behind Algeria, Ghana and a much-changed South Africa.
With Senegal’s last group game on January 27th, it is perfectly conceivable they may exit the competition then, meaning Diouf could be available to play in Stoke’s home game with QPR four days later.
If jet lag prevents him from turning out then, the ex-Manchester United attacker would certainly be available for a televised Super Sunday clash at Newcastle United on February 8th. That is the same day as at the Africa Cup of Nations final, which Bony and the Ivory Coast are expected to reach.
Should City keep Dzeko and rumoured Juventus target Stevan Jovetic alongside top scorer Sergio Aguero, manager Manuel Pellegrini will find it tough to keep all three of that trio and new arrival Bony happy.
A potential sale of out-of-contract Potters pair Peter Crouch and Jon Walters, whose deals both expire at the end of the season, could free up squad space at Stoke for Dzeko.
New West Bromwich Albion head coach Tony Pulis, a former Potters boss that steered them to and established them in the Premier League, may want to take his two former charges that he signed at the Britannia 40 miles south to The Hawthorns.
Whether Stoke consider the Baggies rivals remain to be seen, but West Brom’s odds for relegation have already lengthened significantly since Pulis took charge to 10/3.