Mark Hughes
Hughes should be encouraged to build after record Premier League finish at Stoke.GettyImages

After consolidating the club's highest ever Premier League finish in the top 10, Stoke City and Mark Hughes both emerged from last season with their reputations greatly enhanced.

The former Manchester City and Queens Park Rangers boss arrived at the Britannia Stadium with the mandate of maintaining the club's presence as a stable Premier League force and achieved that while carrying out the thankless task of implementing a shift in the club's often derided playing style.

While the changes weren't seismic by any stretch of the imagination, Hughes has repaired his reputation following his damaging spell at Loftus Road and will oversee this summer's changes with full confidence.

Business so far

Phil Bardsley has joined the Potters from Sunderland on a free transfer, signing a three year deal at the club. Of those released by Stoke in recent weeks, Matty Etherington is the only notable name as he brings an end to his five and a half year spell at the club. Despite sitting firmly behind Asmir Begovic and Jack Butland in the goalkeeping pecking order, Thomas Sorensen has been offered a new contract, as has defender Andy Wilkinson.

What they need

Hughes looks likely to target an overhaul of his striking options this summer. While Charlie Adam and Marko Arnautovic helped with the goal scoring burden, Peter Crouch's tally of eight league goals suggests another option is needed to compliment the instant impact delivered by Peter Odemwingie. Uncertainty over the futures of Steven N'Zonzi and Oussama Assaidi could also call for the addition of a powerful midfield presence and an injection of pace in more advanced positions.

Who could join

After injury to Radamel Falcao prevented the move from happening in January, Stoke look set to fend off interest from West Bromwich Albion to sign Monaco striker Emmanuel Riviere in a deal worth £8m.

The Potters' front line could be further strengthened in the form of ex-Manchester United striker Mame Biram Diouf. Hughes has been pursuing the Senegalese striker since his own arrival at the Britannia but yet another hitch threatens to scupper the move after the 26-year-old reportedly demanded more money. The club's budget could also see a permanent move for Assaidi evaporate with Liverpool reportedly demanding a fee of £7m for the Moroccan. Tom Ince, despite the overtures of Inter, could represent an alternative option.

Who could leave

Somewhat inevitably, some of Stoke's pre-Hughes stalwarts have been linked with a reunion with Tony Pulis at Crystal Palace. Republic of Ireland striker Jon Walters found first team opportunities hard to come by in the second half of the 2013/14 season and has admitted a move could happen. Likewise, Steven N'Zonzi has also been targeted by the Eagles boss.

What the manager has said

Hughes on attempts to sign Oussama Assaidi on a permanent deal: "He's done really well, and we've been really pleased with what he's produced," Hughes said.

"At the end of the day it will be determined to a certain extent by Ossie himself, but more by Liverpool. They hold the cards, to be perfectly honest.

"We'd love to be in a position to be a good option for him. I think we are in terms of where his football is and the enjoyment of his work. He likes being here and I think that's shown in what he's produced for us.

"We'd like to make it happen, but we're only in the initial stages of discussion at the moment."