Stoke drafted in Mark Cartwright as the club’s technical director last December in an attempt to widen the scouting network, and it was a system that former boss Tony Pulis was not comfortable with.
However, City have already reaped the benefits following the signings of Erik Pieters from PSV Eindhoven for £3m and Marc Muniesa, and Hughes is delighted with the set-up.
It was the arrival of Muniesa from Barcelona on a free transfer that impressed him most and Hughes believes Stoke would have missed out had it not been for Cartwright.
“That is reassuring because we are able to get a young player who might have been off the radar of most clubs because they didn’t understand the situation,” Hughes told the Sentinel.
“We were able to conclude it quickly, which you have to do when an outstanding player comes available. You have to move either before these players come on the market, or before their situation becomes known.
“With the insight we now have into most markets, we were ahead of the game. The fact we have been able to bring in two quality players should be reassuring for everybody.”
The odds are stacked against Chelsea as Antonio Conte’s men prepare to take on Barcelona in a Champions League last 16 second leg clash at Nou Camp on Wednesday.