John Obi Mikel will bring a wealth of experience when he arrives at Stoke City as Michael O’Neill’s fourth summer signing.
So have two of his first three signings – James Chester, aged 31, and Steven Fletcher, aged 33 – while Morgan Fox, aged 27, is a seasoned Championship campaigner.
O’Neill is injecting know-how into the spine of the team as he prepares for his first full season in charge, a campaign which will be squeezed in with 13 mid-week league games to heighten the usual drama and mayhem of this division.
His arrivals boast impressive CVs – but, having spoken about the need to reduce the average age of the squad, is this approach a surprise?
Messages and debate have been flooding in to StokeonTrentLive over the past few hours. You can get in touch too via our Stoke City Facebook and Twitter accounts or join the Stoke news and gossip group.
Greg Needham: Let’s think shall we. Building a spine out of tough old experienced battlers, mixed with speed, youth, creativity and a few local lads. Remind you of anyone? Nearly won the league as I recall…
Chris Winfield: The best players don’t need the legs in the championship, being able to read the game more than makes up for the ability to get round the pitch. Stoke just needs someone disciplined who will keep it simple, break up play and move the ball on, I remember Danny Murphy at Fulham was well into his 30s and his legs had gone but they complimented him with younger lads with legs who would take on the running for him. The likes of Glenn Whelan get better with age because they keep things simple and let others play.
A great signing.
Colin Fynn: Surely the most important signings for us at the moment are those with the right character and attitude, ones that will create a willingness to succeed and drive the rest of the squad forward and get the best out of an already talented squad. I think Fletcher is a perfect example of that, not sure about OB1 but hope they’ve done the due diligence
Steve Smith: It’s getting like Chelsea pensioners. Too old. These players are “safe” signings. Not looking to the future.
Andy Brammer: We already have a young talented Nigerian midfielder, I’d much prefer MON to try and get him back to his best rather than somebody that is over the hill.
Shane Richardson: What’s the strategy here? We’ve seen in the League over the last two years you need athleticism, grit and nous. We’re going to have tonnes of the last two but are they going to have the engines to get over the line? Even Boro released Mikel.
Phil Parkin: One in defence, one in the midfield and one up top…great experience to have! Come on Stoke.
David Morris: That’s a lot of injuries, lost speed and slow turns.
Ian Rutter: It’s like they’re signing players from old people’s homes.
David Allbut: At least our team won’t be late anywhere, they’ve all got free bus passes.
Daniel Mayer: Better than Cousins.
Lee Adams: Dad’s Army.
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