Stoke City boss Mark Hughes has hit out at the “fake news” circulating in the English press regarding the immediate future of Palace and Potters transfer target Bruno Martins-Indi, after a supposed change of heart from the Dutchman.
Having spent last season on loan at Stoke, Martins-Indi was widely expected to complete a permanent move there in the coming days but late last week, Sky Sports News claimed that it was Palace, not Hughes and co. who had reached an agreement with the Porto defender.
It was a story which arrived out of nowhere for those of a red and blue persuasion, having heard nothing regarding a potential move for Bruno prior to Sky’s decision to splash it on both their TV channel and Twitter page. From Stoke’s perspective, it will have come as a bitter blow but if Hughes’ comments attached above are anything to go by, he doesn’t intend to give up without a fight.
If you speak to Stoke’s fan-base, the overwhelming view of Martins-Indi is incredibly positive, with plenty suggesting that he was their Player of the Year after his performances in the 2016/17 season. Keeping that in mind, you would assume they would have moved quickly to secure his services permanently in the opening days of the summer transfer window but Sky have suggested that the club’s competition-free option to purchase the centre-back expired at the start of July, giving Palace the chance to swoop in under the radar.
As of yet, we have no way of knowing who is in fact leading the race to land Martins-Indi but given Palace’s desperation to add defensive options in the coming days and weeks, it would hardly be a surprise if we were up for a serious battle with Stoke for him.
One thing’s for sure, Mark Hughes has been hugely rattled by the whole incident, which to me makes it a worthwhile exercise, even if Martins-Indi does end up in the Potteries by August.