After making 3 signings, Stoke City are looking to sell
Stoke City hit the ground running this transfer window with the quick signings of two wingers Rabbi Matondo and Jack Clarke, as well as left-back Rhys Norrington-Davies. In addition, Stoke are still working on a deal to sign Alfie Doughty after it has been made clear he prefers Stoke to some other interested clubs. Many fans still think work needs to be done in signing players, especially a striker as Stoke have struggled to replace the scoring of Tyrese Campbell. Despite this need, Michael O’Neill has recently hinted that the next move for Stoke would most likely be finding clubs for current players who have not seen enough playing time.
In an interview via Stoke Sentinel O’Neill expressed his views on the rest of the transfer window:
"“Certainly not any more coming in at this minute in time. I think it’s more looking at opportunities for players who haven’t played very much and have been on the periphery to find (other clubs) and that takes a bit of time.“If we do anything further in the transfer market I think it will be driven by if anyone leaves the building or not.”"
This statement is quite revealing for Stoke City, but also makes a ton of sense. Even before the January signings, Stoke had a number of players who were seeing little or no playing time with the first team. With that, let’s take a look at the top candidate for an exit from Stoke this January.
So who is most likely to be on the move from Stoke?
Liam Lindsay – My top pick for exit this January is Liam Lindsay. He’s had a tough year at Stoke as he’s only been featured in the second team twice and has been clearly overshadowed by younger defenders Nathan Collins and Harry Souttar. Lindsay is still only 25 and is just a few seasons off a big year at Barnsley. The defender should appeal to quite a few Championship clubs and would probably not need extensive negotiations.
Thibaud Verlinden – The young winger has made it clear that he needs more playing time. Similar to Ince, the signing of two wingers early in January might make it clear to Verlinden that Stoke might not have a clear place for him, at least in the near future. I would think a loan move for Verlinden would make sense. He needs more opportunities to prove himself and he isn’t getting those chances at Stoke right now.
Tom Ince – The writing is on the wall that Ince’s time at Stoke is pretty much over. When Stoke quickly signed two wingers this January, Ince had to be thinking that his playing time, even more so than before, was in jeopardy. Tough it’s clear that Ince’s role is limited at Stoke, it’s hard to say who would be interested in Ince in the Championship as his struggle at Stoke is well documented. An international move would make more sense if Ince was open to it and it would be a good opportunity for Ince to build back up his reputation.
Kevin Wimmer & Moritz Bauer – Bauer has only has 5 starts for the U23’s this season, this coming after a season out on loan at Celtic where he had a limited role. Wimmer has also made 5 starts for Stoke this year with the U23’s after a year out on loan with the Belgian side Jupiler. Of the players on this list, Wimmer and Bauer clearly have the most limited future with the club. Both players need a new team and a fresh Start. Like Ince, finding a suitor might be hard, but at this point, Stoke should just be looking for any opportunity to get these players off the books.