Projected starting XI

Jack Butland; Bruno Martins Indi, Ryan Shawcross, Geoff Cameron; Erik Pieters, Joe Allen, Darren Fletcher, Glen Johnson; Ramadan Sobhi, Xherdan Shaqiri; Saido Berahino

How do you feel about the club's summer transfer business?

Stoke's window is very much a work in progress. Marko Arnautovic could be a big loss, but the Potters did well to get £20 million for him, and it made sense to cash in if they plan on using a back three more often than a back four this season. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is a good pickup in his place, especially on a free transfer. Kurt Zouma and Darren Fletcher are solid cheap depth, while Josh Tymon could become a star left back in the future.

But it's clear that there's a lot more to come from the Potters, and that the team they have now will not be the team they have on September 1. They haven't signed any players who required large transfer fees, while collecting £26 million in sales and getting veterans like Jon Walters, Glenn Whelan and Phil Bardsley off the books. So Stoke's transfer window grade is currently very much incomplete. Fans are expecting a couple of big signings before the window shuts.

What's the highest reasonable goal the team has and what needs to go right to get there?

Right now? Top half. A couple of huge signings could change this, but at the moment the likes of Everton, Southampton and Bournemouth appear to be in better shape than the Potters. Stoke was expected to be a top-half team last season, and really disappointed by finishing 13th and only scoring 41 goals.

To get back into the top half, Stoke are depending on Saido Berahino to regain top form. He struggled in his first half-season with the club, and Mark Hughes is counting on him to return to his 2014-15 form, when he scored 14 goals for West Brom.

Who's a player on the team that neutrals might not know much about, but should become fans of?

Ramadan Sobhi. He only played in about half of Stoke's matches during his first season in England and didn't perform consistently but the 20-year-old is a massive talent. He wasn't expected to make a huge contribution in his first year, which was mostly just about getting him settled. He looks set for a bigger role this season, and should have the confidence to run and defenders and be creative more often in his second Premier League campaign.

Who will be the team's MVP this season, and why?

Joe Allen. Whether he played a holding role, as a box-to-box midfielder or in an advanced role behind the striker, Allen was Stoke's most consistent performer last season. The Welshman can do a bit of everything and gives Hughes major tactical flexibility. His six goals last season were a career best, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him improve on that tally.

Main photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images