Under-pressure Stoke City have got a move on and have lured FC Augsburg defender, Kostas Stafylidis, to the bet365 Stadium today. He will be on the books of the Premier League club until the end of the season and is the first signing for the Potters under the stewardship of their new manager, Paul Lambert, who was appointed earlier this week.
Stafylidis emerged through the youth ranks of PAOK and was then promoted to their senior side. Then he moved to Bayer Leverkusen but mostly spent his time out on loan with his former club, PAOK, and Fulham. In 2015, he signed with Augsburg and has scored 5 goals in 40 appearances for the German outfit before falling out of favour under manager Manuel Baum.
The Greece international is quite a versatile player and probably this aspect of his might have played an instrumental role in Stoke City’s interest to make him sign on the dotted line. He is capable of operating as a left-back, as a left-sided midfielder as well as a central defensive midfielder, and thus, he could be a really handy asset for the English outfit in the coming months.
Stafylidis is primarily a modern-day fullback who loves to gallop forward and make surging runs into the final third to join the attacking endeavours of his side. He maintains a fine balance between his offensive and defensive duties and is known to be a good tackler, interceptor and overall, he is a decent reader of the game. Besides, he scores occasionally and thus, provides the cutting edge which clubs look for in a player these days.
One of the areas he needs to improve on is his ability to create adequate goal scoring chances. He might link up with his teammates up front but many times, he is found bereft of ideas with his crosses, which he certainly needs to look at thoroughly. However, the 24-year-old is still young and the rigours of the Premier League should polish him in the coming fixtures.
Stoke City are in the midst of a relegation battle with 20 points to their name from 23 league outings and are placed at the 18th spot in the Premier League table. To ensure their safety, Lambert needs to make the utmost use of the ongoing transfer market to strengthen his side. Signing Stafylidis is an encouraging sign but they really need to look at the other loopholes and make necessary additions in the coming days.