The immediate future of two of the last remaining players of city of stoke the disastrous late Premier League and early Championship admission will go a long way towards setting the tone for this summer’s transfer window.
It doesn’t take much of a maths package to realize that a large part of Stoke’s vastly realigned salary budget is taken up by Peter Etebo Y benik aphobe, who have just finished their third loan away from the club and have 12 months left on extraordinary contracts.
Etebo, now 26, has not been seen at Clayton Wood since January 2020. Watford has rejected the possibility of making his stay permanent. He was largely sidelined to see his decline after returning from a quad injury.
Afobe, 29, has suffered trauma from serious injuries and the death of a daughter in recent years and has enjoyed his time at Millwall. It is possible that he will return for the start of pre-season training, but he is expected to continue his career away from the bet365 stadium.
They are the final duo apart from Tom Edwards, on a considerably more modest deal and on loan at New York Red Bulls, still on the terms set when Stoke were in the Premier League or trying to ensure a return as quickly as possible.
stoke brought Etebo just when he was heading to the World Cup and Aphobe with the thought that would be the division’s leading forward. It would be a huge surprise if they weren’t among the top earners outside the top flight in 2018 and the landscape has changed a lot since then. The Championship has been hit hard by the pandemic and Stoke have been struggling to stay on the right side of the rules of financial fair play.
How much money set aside for a couple of top players at this level four years ago in 2022 would get you?
Finding new homes is a top priority this summer to cover as much, if not all, of your wages as possible. Gary Rowett has suggested he will have competition to bring Afobe back after a decent campaign and Etebo has always had admirers across Europe.
The good news is that Stoke can now see the moment when they will be able to close the transfer chapter that has dogged the club, and they won’t have to go through this transfer dance again.
Mark Hughes, Paul Lambert, Rowett and Nathan Jones were backed to spend just £120m to sign 31 new players between January 2017 and the summer of 2019.
The vast majority not only worked, but lost value dramatically to the point where only Bruno Martins Indi (undisclosed) has generated even a modest transfer fee. Indeed, Stoke have had to spend to get some of those players off the books.
Wycombe, in League One, for example, would not have been able to pay the wages Stoke were offering Sam Vokes without a subsidy from Stoke and the player’s own sacrifice, or James McClean to Wigan, Lee Gregory to Sheffield Wednesday, Danny Bath to Sunderland. .
It’s been a huge problem to solve, and probably what Michael O’Neill has diplomatically hinted at when he talks about trying to dismantle a squad while building one, though perhaps that only tells part of the story. It has been a challenge, but the end is in sight. Stoke are in a better financial position than they were last summer and next summer, even if they are still in the Championship, they will be in a better financial position again.
The coach said: “We are a championship club, we do not have parachute payments. We have some high-salaried legacy players that are hurting us a little bit. But we have players in our club who are worth money and we believe that those players can help us get to the next level of football. We believe that those players, with the right players around them, can help us get to the next level.
“We are operating on a different financial level and have been since I came in, but 12 months from now I think the club will be in a very strong financial position in terms of what they can invest in the team from a salary point of view. out of sight because we won’t have any legacy players left either.”
The key will be to make that count, but that’s another story.
New senior players signed for Stoke from January 2017 to summer 2019
Saido Berahino – £12m – Released by mutual consent
Maxim Choupo-Moting – Free – Released by mutual agreement
Bruno Martins Indi – £7m – AZ Alkmaar (undisclosed)
Kevin Wimmer – £15m – Rapid Wien
Darren Fletcher – Free – Released
Moritz Bauer – £6m – FC Ufa
Badou Ndiaye – £14m – Aris Thessaloniki
Kurt Zouma – Loan
Jese Rodriguez – On loan
Kostas Stafylidis – Loan
Peter Etebo – £6.35 million
Adam Federici – undisclosed – Released
James McClean – £5m – Wigan Athletic
Tom Ince – £10m – Released
Sam Clucas – £6m
Benik Afobe – £12.5m
Ryan Woods – £7m – City of Birmingham
Ashley Williams – loan
Cuco Martina – on loan
Danny Batth – £3m – Sunderland
Sam Vokes – £7m – Wycombe Wanderers
Jordan Cousins - Free – Wigan Athletic
Adam Davies – Free – Sheffield United
Lee Gregory – Free – Sheffield Wednesday
Liam Lindsay – £2m – Preston North End
Nick Powell – Free
Stephen Ward – Free – Released
Tommy Smith – £4m – Released
Scott Hogan – On loan
Cameron Carter-Vickers – Loan
Mark Duffy – Loan
What are Stoke’s priorities in terms of signings? give your opinion in the comments section