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Mr Agent: Stoke could emerge as dark horses

11 Aug 2011 16:29:45

Mr Agent: Stoke could emerge as dark horses

Sam Stapleton, an FA licensed players' agent and co-founder of Star Management Signings Ltd (right), has signed up for Sportsmail to give our readers an agent's insight into the transfer window and football's big talking points. Read his views throughout the summer.  MR AGENT ON TWITTER Click here to follow StarMSignings Stoke have always been a club that has interested me. Tony Pulis - a no nonsense manager - has been at the helm since 2006, returning after Johan Boskamp was manager for a year. Close to 240 games in the last five years has seen him compile a 40 per cent win ratio. Last season the club broke their record transfer fee by signing Kenwyne Jones from Sunderland for ?8million. So far Jones is on course to repaying this after scoring nine Premier League goals. They sold Tuncay for roughly what they bought him for and it looks as though he has struggled to hold down a place at Wolfsburg. So again, good business. At the moment they are linked with players such as Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wilson Palacios and Peter Crouch. It's no secret that the manager likes tall, strong players but it's worked, so why go against that? Another gem: Matthew Upson signed a two-year deal at Stoke Recent targets show that the chairman Peter Coates and the manager are taking things step by step and this year have decided that they can once again step up a little more. There were clubs looking at Matthew Upson for a while, some apparently even asking him to come and trial. He has over 20 caps for England and played 30 games in the Premier League last season. Yes, he's 32 - but so what? I'm not surprised at all that Pulis just made the decision and made the deal happen. I think he will prove to be good value next season. They are building something at Stoke City and it's with interest that we continue to watch. Bright future: Tom Cleverley Who's a Clever boy, then?I have it on good authority that Tom Cleverley was due to start for England against Holland this week. He has been patient with an understanding that Sir Alex Ferguson has had a plan for him after successful loan stints at Leicester city, Watford and Wigan last season. The last 45 minutes against Manchester City in the Community Shield showed that this young boy is ready to play regular Premier League football. His intelligence, one touch passing, movement and his desire to succeed showed why he is thought of so highly and even compared to Paul Scholes. Cleverley will have to wait for his debut but I'm sure it will come. The UK riots in the last week have quite rightly taken over everything and a lot of the young people involved could do well to look at role models such as Cleverley and see how hard work can get you where you want to be. Home comfortsI'm not so sure the recurrence of an international friendly in the week before the start of the Premier League season is a good idea. The week before a game is mapped out intensely by most managers and their players disappearing must be very frustrating. You set your team up, without being able to work with them, hoping that everyone comes back fully fit. A few of the Championship teams that exited from the League Cup this week also missed a few of their players due to international duty. That's potential income lost from failing to progress in the competition. Why Barton should stay...Last week I spoke a little about Newcastle United. I managed to incite a few fans for which I apologise; my Geordie friend Steve hasn't spoken to me all week! I admit that perhaps my agent's head forgot what the club had done for Joey Barton whilst he was 'away'. The fans did stand by him during that period. However, I still fail to see why letting him go for free was the answer. Enlarge Surely it would be best to keep him? Barton speaks very highly of the fans and I'm sure would continue on in the form that he finished last season with. Let him stay and repay that faith the club showed him. If someone wants to take him, then they pay for him. I was at university in Newcastle and used to go to most home games. It's an incredible club and I really hope that it gets back to where it should be. I understand that they were watching Swiss striker Erin Derdiyok against Liechtenstein. The 23-year old, 6ft 3ins striker actually scored in the 15th minute. He is a good young striker, already with over 30 caps for his country. I think he would be a good addition. Hot tip: LithuaniaAs an agency we have close links with Eastern Europe and have young players over there as well as young English players here. Young players are the future of our agency. Senior players are the ones that keep our business going but you have to always look to the future. We have close links with an academy in Lithuania that is run by the government over there. They develop these young lads, up to the age of 18 and they are all kept together and trained together. The level is very high and a few of the players have ended up in England as well as Italy. I believe that Lithuania will profit form this in the years to come and they will produce some interesting senior players. The real madness is around the cornerSo it seems that for the last few weeks I have ended up writing this column in a hotel room somewhere in the UK. There is a lot of travelling involved in this business, domestic and international. Today I was meeting a potential client and tomorrow I will do the same again. During this time of the window there are a lot of highs and lows but I am lucky enough to be involved in this business and every day is different. We got a great deal of satisfaction when two of our younger players got contracts at new clubs last week and no doubt there will be a lot more business over the next three weeks. The transfer window is nearly always more frenetic towards the final two days. One of our players, Shefki Kuqi is still looking for a Championship club but, as a free agent, he has the luxury of being able to sign outside the window. It's important not to rush into the first offer and will be a game of patience for him.  Club-by-club guide to all the Barclays Premier League summer transfersSign up for our FREE Fantasy Football game and your chance to win a share of ?40,000


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