On Thursday, official news came down that Stoke City forward Liam Delap would be recalled from loan by Manchester City. Also per the same reports, Delap will now also be shipped off to another loan stint in the Championship, this time at Preston North End.
Of course Potters fans and Stoke City themselves (although probably wishing Delap the best of luck) are not concerned too much with Delaps future. But the club and fans are now definitely concerned with what’s next for the club in terms of their number 9.
After all, with Stoke City struggling to score goals consistently this season and having a rotating list of forwards due to injuries and other reasons — Delap’s departure is bound to cause some worry.
So what do The Potters do now without their second best xG (expected goals) leader and third (tied for third) leading scorer in Delap? The answer is one that we’ve discussed a lot over the past couple of months here at “All Stoked Up” — Which is unleash Emre Tezgel.
The Loss of Liam Delap Should Mean More Emre Tezgel
Emre Tezgel has been on a tear for Stoke City’s U21’s this season. So far in six matches played for the U21’s this season, Tezgel has found the back of the net five times. That great form has caught the eyes of manager Alex Neil so much that Neil has started to give Tezgel more consideration with the club’s first team.
Coming out of the World Cup break, Alex Neil started to name Tezgel to Stoke City’s bench on a number of occasions. And even on a couple more of those occasions, Tezgel has received substitute minutes off of the bench for The Potters first team squad.
Those initial minutes for Tezgel will no doubt go a long way for the Stoke City teenager in his career. But with Liam Delap now leaving for Preston North End and Stoke City struggling to find points on a regular basis this season, the time is now to play Tezgel up top.
Never mind giving Tezgel minutes off of the bench at this point, the time has come for Alex Neil to give Tezgel Stoke City’s number 9 role. Now, that doesn’t mean Tezgel has to start every match or even doesn’t get a respite at some point from first team life.
But at this point for Stoke City, there’s no excuse to not give Tezgel minutes at striker for the club’s first team. With Delap now gone, there’s no longer any number 9 on loan at the club to have to try to squeeze into a starting XI.
Plus, with Stoke City’s lack of goal scorers this year, Emre Tezgel might represent a shot in the arm for The Potters in attack. Even four goals from Tezgel in the second-half of the season would represent a massive boost in production for Stoke City up top.
Bottomline is, the time is now with Liam Delap gone to unleash a possible budding superstar in Emre Tezgel.