New Potters boss to bring in former Blackburn star.
New Stoke City manager Mark Hughes could make a surprise move for free agent David Bentley, CaughtOffside understands.
The 28-year-old has just been released by Tottenham after a difficult five-year spell with the club, who he joined from Hughes’ Blackburn team for £15million in 2008.
Bentley, also a former Arsenal trainee, never managed to find his best form again at White Hart Lane, after becoming one of the most talked about talents in the country under Hughes at Blackburn.
In recent years, Bentley has found himself loaned out to the likes of Birmingham, West Ham, and Russian side FC Rostov, and he recently failed to impress on a loan return to Ewood Park.
Although this will be seen as something of a risky signing, Hughes feels he may be able to reignite Bentley’s career once again, and is willing to take a chance on the former England international as he is available on a free transfer.
Bentley famously scored a hat-trick against Manchester United on his debut for Blackburn, and went on to score 20 goals and contribute 26 assists in just three seasons for the club, as he and Hughes enjoyed tremendous success together.
Hughes then left to manage Manchester City at the same time as Bentley joined Tottenham, and will look to be proving a lot of people wrong in his latest venture in management, as he has had difficult spells in charge of Fulham and Queens Park Rangers following his sacking at City.
The Welshman has been put in charge at the Britannia after they parted company with the long-serving Tony Pulis, and will be under pressure to improve the side’s fortunes after their struggles with relegation last season.
Another former player of his, Manchester City’s Gareth Barry, has also been linked with a move to the Potters, as Hughes looks to add some experienced heads to his squad.
Neither of these signings are likely to wow the Stoke fans a great deal, but Hughes knows he will have less money to work with than in his ill-fated spell with QPR, where his expensive signings failed to perform and ended up being relegated.
Bentley may not necessarily be first choice upon joining Stoke, but he may find himself short of other offers and could relish the chance to work with Hughes once again.
It is also possible that Hughes will be able to raise funds for bigger signings, with goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and striker Kenwyne Jones both likely to leave the club this summer after emerging as targets for Arsenal and Cardiff City, respectively.