Stoke City have identified Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend as the man they want to replace Marko Arnuatovic according to The Sun.

Mark Hughes sold the Austrian attacker to West Ham United last month and that has left him a little short of options in the wide areas so the need to replace him is growing stronger.

The Potters do have Xherdan Shaqiri and Ramadan Sobhi in that area of the pitch but the former has been injury prone in his time at the Bet365 Stadium while the latter is still young and inexperienced so it is a position the Welshman must strengthen.

Hughes was linked with the Ukraine international Andriy Yarmolenko recently but his attentions now appear to be in the direction of the former Tottenham Hotspur star Townsend and is considering a bid of £15 million for his services.

The England ace has failed to make a significant impression since leaving White Hart Lane in January last year. He spent six months at Newcastle where he never really got going and his first season at Selhurst Park was up and down.

In total since he left Spurs, Townsend has made 53 appearances in all competitions and has netted seven goals.

He has featured in pre-season at wing-back for Palace where he has impressed but that is not a natural position for the England international and Hughes could well use regular football in an attacking role as bait to try to lure him away from London.

The fact that Townsend can play on either wing would very much be a positive for Stoke should they sign him as it would mean he can complement the two wide men the Potters already have. He could also be used behind a striker so his versatility would be extremely beneficial.

Whoever it is that Hughes ends up going after to replace Arnautovic he needs to get a deal over the line soon with Stoke beginning their Premier League campaign at Everton on August 12.


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