Former Stoke City goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen believes the club have the quality to join the likes of Tottenham in the upper tier of the Premier League.
After consolidating themselves in England's top flight following their promotion in 2008, Stoke have now stepped it up in the transfer market, recruiting Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Afellay, Glen Johnson and Chelsea loanee Marco van Ginkel among others.
The arrival of the quartet has added to an already impressive squad, which boasts Borjan Krkic, Marko Arnautovic, Erik Pieters, Jack Butland and Ryan Shawcross, with the club occupying 11th position after recent wins over Manchester City and Chelsea.
Sorensen, who only departed the Britannia Stadium in May after seven seasons at Stoke, said Mark Hughes now has the players at his disposal to push for a spot in the top six, having posted consecutive ninth-place finishes.
"It's been a slow process. I was there for most of that transition," the Dane told Omnisport.
"I think the club has done it really well. Taking it slowly, getting a foothold, then building upon it and changing manager at the right time.
"Now they have added that extra quality. You can talk about team spirit and working hard but you need the quality. I think now the team has that after a slow start as they tried to get everyone to gel. I think finding the best XI and keeping the players happy will be the biggest job.
"I can definitely see them pushing the likes of Tottenham and others on the periphery of the top six."
Sorensen, who is still playing in Australia for Melbourne City in the A-League, added: "They have a good chairman, he is wise and he won't throw money away. He will make shrewd decisions but he has shown he will back the manager.
"It is a clever run club and they have a good fan base. But it is also about building the brand as well looking forward because that is where they are lacking compared to Liverpool and Tottenham, the teams they want to catch."
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