Stoke eyeing up targets to solve left-back dilemma

Last season, Stoke encountered perhaps their most difficult season in the Premier League only just avoiding a fierce relegation battle.

It seem that new Stoke boss Mark Hughes is keen to avoid facing the same situation this year and is already looking at possible signings to help strengthen their defence.

It seems that the left-back position is one area that Hughes is determined to fill with Blackburn’s Martin Olsson appearing to be their primary targets.

Olsson previously played under Hughes during his reign at Ewood Park a few years ago and the Welshman believe that the Swede is the perfect fit for The Potters.

Having played for Blackburn for 7 years, Olsson has established himself as a regular part of their side making 143 appearance for the side in both the Premier League and The Championship.

He has also established himself within the Swedish national side as well earning 15 caps for his country so far.

But Stoke could have their work cut out in bringing Olsson to The Britannia Stadium with West Ham also eager to sign the defender.

West Ham enjoyed a strong season last year and their resurgence in form could give Hughes a major headache when trying to sign the defender.

If Stoke fail in their quest to sign Olsson, Hughes is supposedly looking to target PSV left back Erik Pieters to the club.

PSV have struggled in their bid to win Eredivisie in the last few years and the prospect of playing in the Premier League could be enough to convince Pieters to leave Holland.

Having previously being a regular in the PSV squad, Pieters has fallen out of favour at the Philips Stadion this season only making 2 appearances for the side in the league.

The Dutchman has also become a regular in the Dutch national side making 17 appearances in the last 3 years including playing for the side during Euro 2012.

With a price tag of £3million, it could provide the club with a suitable alternative who has similar experience at both domestic and international levels.

It’s expected that Hughes preferred choice is Olsson although there is expected to be less competition to sign Pieters.

No matter which player Stoke chooses to go for, it would certainly help provide the club with a bit more quality at the back and help The Potters consolidate their status as a Premier League club.

Andrew Roach is writer and editor of SqueakyBumTime.com. A keen Arsenal fan who is always on the pulse of all things at the Emirates!