With the imminent capture of starlet Brek Shea from FC Dallas who will join fellow USA international Geoff Cameron at the club, it seems we have developed quite a connection with Major League Soccer over the past year. Brek Shea is only 22, is already capped by the USA national side 15 times and will join Stoke for what is reported £3m. When you compare that to Reading's attempt to sign Tom Ince from Blackpool for £10m, one thing becomes evident: there is better value abroad.
I have always believed that statement is true and tonight's opponents Wigan Athletic are actually one of the best there is at bringing real talents to the Premier League, with their scope predominately the South American region.
It is always a risk to bring in an unproven foreign export but it shouldn't be as long as enough research and time has gone into monitoring the player to ensure that they will be able become accustomed to the pace of the Premier League. At this point, I won't mention the Deigo Arismendi transfer.
We have quite a connection to American football and even have a sister club, Orlando City, (formerly Austin Aztec) founded by Stoke director Phil Rawlins and managed by former Stoke midfielder Adrian Heath. It is no coincidence then that we are now looking to the MLS for our signings considering that Cameron and now Shea could be monitored by Rawlins and Co. on our behalf.
Having read up on the lad it seems he has recently come back from a foot injury and that is the reason the MLS initially rejected our offer. My initial reaction from me was for us to stay away but having watched footage of him he looks the perfect fit for us.
He is naturally left-footed, pacy, has an eye for goal and most importantly for Pulis is 6'3". With any signing from abroad it is vital that they can get used to English football but if Cameron is anything to go by then we have another real good prospect on our hands for a relatively cheap price, and of course it is always reassuring that he was once touted to move to Arsenal for £8m.
With Etherington a shadow of the player he was before the 2011 FA Cup Final, it is time that we start to look at younger talents such as Shea to replace him, no matter where we bring them from.