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Analysing the costly search for a striker for Stoke City

Thursday 11th May 2017
Stoke City striker Mame Biram Diouf scored in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bournemouth, his first goal since May 2016, and only his 6th in his last 51 Premier League appearances.

The 29-year-old was brought in from Hannover on £3.5M-a-year to solve Stoke's scoring woes, but he's simply added to them. And he isn't alone.

Stoke City strikers signed under Mark Hughes

Here's a brief overview of the players and their annual salaries.


  • Saido Berahino (£12M from West Bromwich Albion) £3M-a- year

  • Wilfried Bony (£2M loan from Manchester City) £6M-a-year


  • Joselu (£7M from Hannover 96) £1M-year


  • Bojan Krkic (£3M from Barcelona) £2M-a-year

  • Mame Diouf (free from Hannover 96) £3M-a-year


  • Peter Odemwingie (free from Cardiff City) £2M-a-year

  • John Guidetti (loan from Manchester City) £1M-year

Stoke City have spent around £40M in transfer fees and wages on strikers under Hughes, producing a total of 45 goals in 241 games in all competitions, that works out a staggering £900K-per-goal.
How have Stoke's strikers fared?

  • Saido Berahino: 0 goals, 12 games

  • Wilfried Bony: 2 goals, 11 games

  • Mame Biram Diouf: 18 goals, 94 games

  • Bojan Krkic: 15 goals, 60 games

  • Joselu: 4 goals, 27 games

  • John Guidetti: 0 goals, 6 games

  • Peter Odemwingie: 6 goals, 31 games

This season, Stoke City's highest-scoring strikers in the Premier League are Peter Crouch (five goals) and Jonathan Walters (four goals), two players whose arrival preceded Hughes' at the Bet 365 Stadium. The pair have notched more goals than Bojan (3), Bony (2) and Diouf (1) between them in 2016/17, which explains why Stoke have averaged just 1.1 goals scored per game. Berahino's arrival is expected to see the Potters become a more ruthless outfit next season but the club has decisions to make on the rest of their options given their poor output.

Throughout the campaign, Stoke has not settled on a striker to spearhead the attack, scoring one or fewer goals in 25 Premier League games this season while failing to score entirely on 11 occasions. Hughes has built a side full of creative and attacking players but the goals still haven't come. Bojan has left, Bony will return to his parent club in the summer and Crouch, Walters & Diouf aren't expected to be first-choice in 2017/18, so Berahino has a lot of pressure on his shoulders to deliver.

Stoke's style might also be to blame for not getting the most out of their strikers given how much they've invested. Only six sides have averaged less shots-per-game than the Potters this season, and a 47% average possession stat shows how a lack of control in games is leading to them struggling to make an impact further up the pitch. Stoke look set for their lowest Premier League finish under Hughes while having a squad accounting for a large wage bill.

The City boss hasn't found a remedy to solve his side's scoring woes ever since he joined and it could cost him his job if the hierarchy doesn't believe he's spent wisely bolstering the attack. Saido Berahino will cost Stoke a total of £30M by the end of his contract, potentially a big gamble considering he's scored just four Premier League goals since May 2015.
Crippy Cooke

Crippy is a long-suffering Aston Villa supporter and weekly football accumulator enthusiast.

Stealing a living, the balding 27-year-old boasts a wealth of writing experience - Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London 24 and Bleacher Report.

Total articles: 330

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