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‘A very talented player’ – Stoke City eyeing move for Chelsea midfielder: The verdict

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This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Stoke City are currently in pole position to recruit Chelsea outcast Lewis Baker, according to The Independent.

The 26-year-old has remained loyal to the Blues throughout the entirety of his career at Stamford Bridge, but is unlikely to make a first-team breakthrough now and with this, he is now being linked with a move back to the second tier.

Going out on a total of eight different loan spells away from the English capital, with his most temporary move away coming at Turkish Super Lig side Trabzonspor, he could be about to end his long stay at the top-tier giants and finally settle down somewhere else permanently.

Quiz: Can you name which club Stoke City signed these 28 defenders from?

1 of 28

Ben Wilmot?

His contract at the Bridge expires permanently in the summer, coming on for Thomas Tuchel’s men against Chesterfield for his first senior appearance of the season and failing to make a single Premier League matchday squad during the 2021/22 campaign.

As per The Independent report, the Blues may even let him go on a free transfer in an attempt to get him off their wage bill early and it’s the Potters who are reported to be the main team in for him at this stage.

Looking at it from the latter’s perspective, is it a good signing for Michael O’Neill’s men? And is he a much-needed figure at the bet365 Stadium?

We take a look at what three of our Football League World writers had to say regarding these two talking points.

Alfie Burns

It’s quite difficult to judge Baker given his lack of football.

Thinking back to his loan with Leeds and Reading a few years ago, they were chalk and cheese really.

Leeds didn’t see the best of him, but he had an impact at Reading – expectations were different at both clubs, but even that season is difficult to judge what type of impact Baker could have at Stoke.

In terms of raw ability, Baker is a player that Stoke could benefit from having. However, history tells us that it might not be that straightforward, otherwise he’d have been a success elsewhere before.

Baker has played as a centre-back recently and that’s something I’m intrigued to see whether Michael O’Neill chips into. But, again, it’s such a small sample size to decide whether or not Stoke are making the right decision pursuing a deal.

Ultimately, the element of risk is something Stoke can carry given Baker would be coming on a free.

Whether it’s a long-term success, the jury will remain out for a period.

Chris Thorpe

He’s a very talented player and he deserves the chance to go out and show that.

For me he needs to leave Chelsea for the good of his career, otherwise he could waste away into the background.

Stoke need a bit more creativity in the centre of the park, so he would be an ideal addition to strengthen in that area.

Add to the fact that Chelsea would be willing to let him leave and it appears that Potters may well have a clear run at this move.

I would be interested to see how he would get on week on week in the Championship.

Adam Jones

This would be a risk-free acquisition for the Potters and one worth making considering the impact he had at Reading.

They may have been three years ago now, with Baker potentially needing to leave Chelsea a lot earlier than he has to fulfil his potential, but this would still be a good move for all parties and on a free transfer, they would be fools not to make a move.

Not only can he play in a more advanced position, but he would also be comfortable in a deeper role, potentially even in a quarterback role as someone who picks the ball up in a deep position and sprays the ball about.

He may not be a player to break up the play constantly, but he would certainly be a good option to have in a deep midfield position alongside a more physical player and in the end, that’s how they will probably get the best out of the Chelsea man.

Overall though, this is a bargain and other teams should have made this move beforehand. Well done to the Potters if they can get this over the line.


A 21-year-old Reading FC fan and writer who graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in the summer with a degree in Journalism and Media Production. Other topics written about include politics, mental health and education.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: ‘A very talented player’ – Stoke City eyeing move for Chelsea midfielder: The verdict

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