Transfer woes: Why can’t Stoke City sell any players?

Why can’t Stoke manage to sell players?

As we come close to the Friday domestic transfer window deadline, we should take some time to realize just how poor this summer has been for Stoke City transfers.

It was no secret that Stoke had a crowded squad going into the summer window, and that Michael O’Neill was looking to trim the squad considerably. Regrettably, the only player that Stoke has managed to sell is young forward Gabriel Kyeremateng for an undisclosed fee. 

If you want to check out what Stoke have managed to do this window, take a look at Transfermarket. To save you the time… its not great. Outside of Kyeremateng, 3 players left on free transfers, 3 on loan, and on loan with additional fees. A caveat to this would probably be Peter Etebo who joined Galatasaray with an option to buy at the end of the season. Even going back to last season, the only player Stoke managed to sell was Erik Pieters for 1.21m.

I do want to acknowledge that these moves have no doubt given O’Neill a smaller squad that he has confidence in and can be rotated from time to time – that’s not the issue here. The main problem with this Summer is losing out on the opportunity to clear players from the books permanently that are obviously not a part of Stoke’s plan going forward. While loan moves will save the club wage fees and keep the club in a better financial position at the moment, the strategy of loaning out players until they eventually leave on free transfer is just bad business. Even if Stoke were to take massive discounts on many of their players not seeing first team action, the sheer number of sales would help the club increase their overall transfer budget to help O’Neill further build his vision of the club. I understand player sales are easier said than done, but having one sale over the last two season is concerning and also does not make the club attractive for future transfers. Seriously, how appealing does “if you run out of form we can just keep loaning you out to Turkey till the contract is over” sound when looking to bring players in. It can’t look good.

Also, it should be considered that outside of Ryan Woods and the before mention Etebo, all players currently out on loan (Ndiaye, Martins Indi, Afobe) all will return at the end of the season. While the squad looks smaller now, it’s really just temporary.

Stoke also still have some players left in the squad that are prime prospects for discounted transfers- Jack Butland, Tom Ince, Kevin Wimmer, and Moritz Bauer. Of these, only Butland’s contract is ending at the end of the season. We still have a few days, as well as the Winter window, so there is some hope that Stoke will eventually take some discounted transfers and get some of these players permanently off the books.