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Adam: New-look Stoke must target Europe

With the likes of Ibrahim Afellay already on the books and Xherdan Shaqiri expected to sign soon, Stoke City can make a genuine bid for European qualification, according to Charlie Adam.

After losing 1-0 at home to Liverpool on Sunday - described by Adam as "only one game" - the gloss may have been taken off Stoke's close-season recruitment, which saw Afellay, Marco van Ginkel, Joselu and Glen Johnson arrive at the Britannia Stadium.

But Adam remains excited about the potential of Mark Hughes' Stoke squad, with the latter having confirmed on Monday that talks have resumed to sign Switzerland international Shaqiri from Inter.

Shaqiri would be Hughes' 10th signing since last season, and Adam said Stoke have built a squad that can challenge for the UEFA Europa League at least this term.

"The ambition is to try to get into Europe," the veteran midfielder said.

"That would be a massive achievement. Liverpool was only one game, there are 37 more to go. We want to get into Europe, we want to taste it and that would be a step forward for us."

Since being promoted to the Premier League in 2008-09, Stoke have never finished higher than ninth - their result in the last two campaigns - but Adam said Hughes has developed "a great project".

The capture of Afellay, who made his debut against Liverpool, underlines for Adam where Stoke is heading.

"You can see the ability he has," Adam said.

"You don't play for Barcelona if you're a bad player. He likes to keep the ball and has good retention of it.

"Also, he has only been in the club a couple of weeks and not had much of a pre-season. Once he gets up to speed again and everybody gets to know how each other play we will be a decent team again this year."