Stoke must think twice about new Arnie deal
18th January 2016

IT’S that time of year again… the January transfer window is open and the rumour mill is in full swing.

To say that you have to be careful what you read is an understatement, but there has been a few interesting stories surrounding Stoke, including current players as well as potential incomings.

I personally tend to stay away from social media nowadays and don’t tend to believe anything I read that doesn’t come for a personal reliable source.

Those rumors surrounding Marko Arnautovic’s contract talks and the Potters’ monitoring of Saido Berahino’s situation are certainly interesting though.

7th November 2015 - Barclays Premier League - Stoke City v Chelsea - Marko Arnautovic of Stoke City celebrates after opening the scoring (1-0) - Photo: Paul Roberts / Offside.

Arnautovic has been great at times but remains largely inconsistent.

Anybody who has followed Arnie’s time at the club will probably have the same opinion… He’s incredibly good, but just as incredibly inconsistent.

One week he can be an eight out of ten, and the next he’ll be a four. There doesn’t seem to be much consistency and that’s what would make me think twice before handing him the reported £80,000 a week he is asking for.

Many will remember his winner against Chelsea, brace against Manchester City and screamer against Man United at the Brit this season, and they seem to be the sort of games he gets up for, but contributions in the games against lower opposition sides are just as important.

Until that consistency is shown he certainly wouldn’t be receiving £80,000 of my money… but that’s not to say he wouldn’t get a new deal at all.

I quite like the idea of extending his current contract by a year and set him some targets to meet in order to earn a new and improved contract next summer.

A club like Stoke has to be careful giving such high wages to a player, because it won’t be long before others come knocking on the door demanding a pay rise.

Both Ryan Shawcross and Glenn Whelan would probably be scratching their heads, considering they have played consistently for Stoke week in week out for nearly 10 years.

I don’t think you will find many Stoke fans out there who will say they wouldn’t like to sign Sadio Berahino.

Yes he’s had issues under former Potters boss Pulis at West Brom, but only them two know what is going on behind the scenes and a trip across the Midlands would give the England U-21 forward a new challenge.

As much as I’d like it to happen, I think it’s extremely unlikely.

There’s no doubt Stoke have had a great few years, but not only do I think bigger clubs will come in for him, but, just as importantly nowadays, they’ll be clubs with more money for both transfer fees and wages.

It’s certainly a sign of how well Stoke have progressed to be linked with players of such calibre, but I can see it remaining a link and no more.

On Sunday Arsenal visited the Brit, a fixture Stoke have liked over recent years and the Gunners, particularly Arsene Wenger, certainly haven’t.

I think it’s a sign how far the club have come that Arsenal were probably the happier of the two sides with a point.

Stoke fans certainly get used to beating Arsenal at home, but however regular that happens you have to remember that point put Arsene Wengers’ side top of the league, so all in all you can’t be too disappointed with a draw.

It was probably a fair result, and the two teams seemed to cancel each other out throughout the 90 minutes.

On a side note, that’s Chelsea, Arsenal, and both Manchester clubs captain Ryan Shawcross has kept home clean sheets against this season…I’ll assume Roy Hodgson was elsewhere and hasn’t seen his consistent form yet again this season, even after serious back surgery.

The next few weeks sees Stoke face Leicester, LIverpool, Manchester United and Crystal Palace all away from home in three different competitions – a tough run indeed.

As demonstrated by our results against top sides already this season, this is a period the club should relish and not fear.

Seventh in the Premier League after 22 games and a cup semi-final… all in all, it’s a great time to be a Potter.

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