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On Wednesday morning, thai sbo Leicester City announced that Robert Huth would be leaving the club at the end of the season after three-and-a-half years with the Foxes.
The German defender has made 93 appearances during that period, scoring six goals, and became a fans favourite at the King Power Stadium for the prominent role that he played in the club’s recent success.
He was a crucial facet of the Leicester team that were crowned Premier League champions in 2016 and was widely admired for his tough, no-nonsense style of defending.
However, Huth will go into the summer as a free agent after the Foxes decided not to renew his contract when it concludes at the end of the campaign.
The German has struggled to regain his place in the first team squad since suffering a string of injuries in the closing stages of last season and is behind the likes of Wes Morgan, Harry Maguire and Aleksander Dragovic in the pecking order for a starting role.
Huth remains a popular figure among Stoke supporters after his contributions helped to establish the club in the Premier League, reach an FA Cup final and progress to the latter stages of the Europa League.
His central defensive partnership with club captain Ryan Shawcross is widely perceived by fans as being the best in the club’s modern era.
With the Potters being relegated to the Sky Bet Championship and Huth set to leave Leicester in the summer, some Stoke supporters have been left wondering if the German is set for a dream homecoming.
The current Stoke squad will undoubtedly experience a dramatic overhaul during the summer as the club prepares for life in the second tier and the departure of Kurt Zouma, who returns to Chelsea when his loan expires next week, will mean that the Potters will be in the market for a defensive replacement.
However, the potential signing of Huth would not represent a positive move.
The central defender is now 34-years-old and has barely featured for Leicester over the last twelve months. In fact, the German has yet to make an appearance this season and has struggled with multiple consecutive injuries over the last year.
If The Potters are serious about reclaiming their place in the Premier League then they must avoid trying to relive the past and start to look to the future.
Regardless of the place that Huth has in the hearts of Stoke supporters, it makes little sense objectively to purchase an aging defender who has barely played in twelve months.
Attempting to recreate the glory days of half-a-decade ago is unlikely to solve thai sbo the club’s current issues in the here and now.
A defensive partnership of Huth and Shawcross would have a combined age of 64 – you have to question how effective the pairing would be in the intense world of football in the Championship where the games come thick and fast with often two matches a week in a congested fixture list.
There is little to gain from trying to relive the past.
Instead, Stoke should be looking to bring together a young, hungry group of players that are developing towards the prime of their careers and still have everything to prove.
It should be about building with the future in mind, rather than reminiscing about creating an ‘old boys’ club.
A return for Huth to the Bet365 Stadium would be an idealistic and romanticised concept in the minds of some supporters, but is he truly the best option?
Huth will forever be remembered as a genuine Stoke City legend, but he represents the past and it is the future that the club need to be focusing on.
A return to ‘The Potteries’ may be a romantic notion for some supporters, yet it would not represent forward thinking or progress for a club thai sbo that needs to rebuild after a period of regression.
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