Stoke City: Mark Hughes wants 'top players' for European bid

Mark Hughes
Mark Hughes signed a new contract to keep him at Stoke until 2019

Stoke City will continue their attempts to sign "top players" as they try to bring European football back to the club, says manager Mark Hughes.

The Potters failed in efforts to sign Inter Milan and Switzerland winger Xherdan Shaqiri but Hughes is confident of adding quality.

"We will continue to look to bring in top players right up until the deadline at the end of August," said Hughes.

"If we have a good start to the season, we could well push for Europe."

The former Wales striker took charge in May 2013 and guided Stoke to ninth in his first season - their highest finish in the Premier League - and repeated the feat in 2014-15.

Hughes has already signed Spanish striker Joselu, goalkeepers Shay Given and Jakob Haugaard, defenders Glen Johnson and Philipp Wollscheid plus midfielder Marco van Ginkel.

And, with a record new TV deal coming into effect from next season, he believes a number of clubs are ready for significant investment this summer.

"It's a challenge because in the last two seasons we had two top-10 finishes and we would like to do better than that," he said in the build-up to the Premier League Asia Trophy, which also features Arsenal and Everton.

"However one thing we really have to realise is that a lot of clubs are trying to strengthen ahead of the big television deal to come at the end of this campaign, so there's a focus on that.

"Therefore, a lot of teams are investing in their playing group as we are, just to make sure we maintain our position. If we can, we would like to push higher."

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