Mark Hughes
Hughes has the backing of the Stoke board despite some growing frustrated with him last season. Getty

After three consecutive ninth place finishes, Stoke City settled for 13th place last term. Currently among the cluster of clubs bridging the gap between those pushing for European football and those stuck in a constant scrap for survival, the Potters could happily spend the next few years comfortably floating in mid-table obscurity. But stand still at your peril in the frenetic world of the Premier League.

Business so far

Darren Fletcher became the first addition of the summer in May, signing for the club on a two-year deal from West Brom despite playing a prominent role for the Baggies last term. Geoff Cameron and Phil Bardsley have both been handed new contracts with Glen Johnson also penning a fresh deal that ties him to the club until 2018. Offers have reportedly come in for long-serving midfielder Glenn Whelan, but so far Stoke have turned away bids for the Republic of Ireland international.

What they need

While bids have been rejected so far for Whelan, it is time Stoke seriously started to think about a long-term replacement for the 33-year-old. There is a chronic lack of pace in the Potters' ageing squad, particularly in full-back areas and Hughes' reliance on the old guard at the Britannia Stadium can largely explain last season's stagnant affair that frustrated many of their masses.

Peter Crouch and Jon Walters, 36 and 33 respectively, carried much of the burden up front last season with Saido Berahino slow to get back up to speed and Wilfried Bony's arrival a colossal disaster - things may need a freshen up at the top.

Who could join

Bruno Martins Indi appeared set to join the Potters on a permanent deal at the end of last season but as it stands, he is set to return to Porto in July. The Netherlands international recently explaining he was unsure where he would be come the start of next season, with Hughes admitting in May talks with the Portuguese side had reached a frustrating impasse.

Bruno Martins Indi
Martins Indi appeared set to join Stoke permanently but that deal now looks in doubt. Getty

After Leeds United's failure to reach the Championship playoffs last season, Chris Wood might now be ready for bigger and better things. Stoke have been credited with keen interest in the Kiwi who struck 30 goals in all competitions last season. After breaking into the Hull City first-team at the end of last season, Josh Tymon appears set for a swift return to the top flight with Hughes' side, with the Stoke Sentinel suggesting a deal is close for the 18-year-old.

Oh, there have also been those Wayne Rooney rumours, but they have been dismissed just as quickly as they appeared.

Who could leave

Coates has already admitted the club are ready to cash in on record signing Gianni Imbula and find a new club for the player whose tenure at the club has been pretty dreadful. Having returned from a loan spell in Germany with Mainz, Bojan could yet have a future at the club, according to the chairman. After his 2016-17 season was wrecked by injury, Stoke are adamant Jack Butland will remain where he is this summer, with Ryan Shawcross to be offered a new deal in the coming weeks, according to his manager.

Bojan Krkic
Bojan is back at Stoke following his loan move. Getty

Xherdan Shaqiri, arguably the club's most ambitious signing to date, has been dogged by inconsistency since his arrival on these shores with reports from the local press suggesting Stoke are ready to cash in - providing they receive an offer close to the £12m they paid Inter Milan two years ago.

Charlie Adam meanwhile has played down suggestions he is set to return to Dundee, insisting a tweet about "coming home" posted via his account wasn't actually written by him. Of course.

What the manager has said

"We understand there are areas where we need to go into the market and address. But it's not an easy process. It's not a computer game. You can't swap and change people. There's a process and it's difficult.

"If there's a convincing case to bring in certain players, I'm sure the owners will back me as they have in the past."