ESPN reports that Schalke attacker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has joined Premier League side Stoke City on a free transfer. The Cameroon International who saw his contract with Schalke expire this summer scored 3 goals in 23 Bundesliga appearances last year and Choupo-Moting is expected to play a central role this year as Stoke will look towards the likes of him and Ramadan Sobhi to fill the void left by the departure of Marko Arnautovic.
With Saido Berahino failing to find form after his £12million arrival from West Bromwich Albion and the likes of Joselu and Bojan having fallen down the pecking order at the Bet365 Stadium, the signing of Choupo-Moting adds much needed attacking impetus to a side that registered their lowest Premier League finish in four years. Capable of playing as a striker or as a winger Choupo-Moting provides versatility, a trait recognised by Stoke’s chief executive who admitted that the club had previously tried to sign Choupo-Moting four years ago.
Choupo-Moting has already spoken of his happiness at being a Premier League player as he stated,
The Bundesliga is a great competition,
but the Premier League is really special and I can’t wait to play against all of those teams as a Stoke City player.
However, Stoke City’s transfer activity is not done yet if Sky Sports sources are correct. After getting Chelsea centre-back Kurt Zouma on loan, Stoke look set to strengthen their back line further as Mark Hughes seeks to bring Bruno Martins Indi back, this time on a permanent transfer. Martins Indi had been linked with a move to Crystal Palace but their signing of Jairo Riedewald in July means Stoke are now in pole position for the Dutch international. Stoke had turned down the opportunity to extend Martins Indi’s stay and pay £13million for the Porto defender during his loan spell. However, now Stoke are set to pay little over half that amount in a deal worth £7.5 million.
With the deal for Martins Indi set to be confirmed later this week, Stoke fans will be able to witness intense competition in their defence with the prospect of the physical figures of Zouma, Ryan Shawcross and Martins Indi forming a 3 man defence in a 3-4-3 formation. Whilst Stoke have tried to move away from their unglamorous stereotypes in previous years, the potential of such a powerful back line will be an interesting watch in the 2017/18 season.