Bristol City forward Andreas Weimann is attracting interest from fellow Championship side Stoke City, according to the Stoke Sentinel.
Although Weimann’s deal at Ashton Gate expires this summer, the Robins are engaging with ongoing talks over a new deal and despite his severe ACL injury that kept him out for the majority of last season, Nigel Pearson is seemingly keen on extending the Austrian forward’s stay at the club.
However, nearly a month has now passed and there is increasing speculation over his future, with Stoke ready to make a move for the 29-year-old.
Weimann is now pretty much at the end of his contract – and Michael O’Neill could potentially make a move now if he really wants his signature.
Is it a good potential move?
This could end up being an excellent bit of business. Even though Bristol City are in discussions with the forward, they may be hesitant to offer Weimann a decent contract because of the severity of an Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury.
This could potentially allow Stoke to swoop in and take the forward from under the Robins’ nose if the Ashton Gate side are haggling over terms, perhaps causing this delay.
However, this would be unfair with Weimann being ever-present in Nigel Pearson’s side since his arrival from Derby County in 2018.
And at 29, you could probably get at least three more years of good football out of the Austrian. On a free as well? It’s a bargain – and a signing well worth making if the wage bill isn’t too hefty.
Would he start?
This very much depends on the other business complete in the next few months. Last season’s loanees Jack Clarke and Rabbi Matondo have gone back to Tottenham Hotspur and Schalke, although the latter has recently been linked with a move back to the bet365 Stadium.
Steven Fletcher, who was a regular starter last season, is now 34 – and fellow strikers Benik Afobe and Lee Gregory spent much of the 2020/21 campaign out on loan. Add in the possible departure of Sam Vokes this summer and the Stoke front line is looking weaker going into the next year. Vokes is not the only player set to have an uncertain summer in Staffordshire, with Tom Ince’s future also up in the air.
However, James McClean, who is going into the final year of his deal, Tyrese Campbell and Jacob Brown are all in with a chance of starting regularly. Nick Powell is also set to be a key player again for the Potters next season, so the extent of Weimann’s involvement would depend on Stoke’s transfer strategy.
If they adopt a more cautious summer plan and prioritise balancing the books, the Austrian has every chance of being heavily involved and potentially starting depending on the form of him and his teammates. But if the likes of Rabbi Matondo join this summer, his involvement could be limited by the competition around him.
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What does he offer?
A wealth of Championship experience. In the last six years, Weimann has been a regular starter at Derby County, Wolverhampton Wanderers and more recently, Bristol City.
Earlier on in his career, he was also regular in the Premier League for Aston Villa and that can only be a plus for Stoke if the two parties successfully negotiate a deal to bring him up north.
O’Neill will also have the option of utilising the 29-year-old as a central striker, a winger AND an attacking midfielder, with former manager Dean Holden opting to convert him to the latter last year.
If injuries start to become a problem in a less bulky squad after the summer, with more Potters players likely to leave in the coming months, Weimann’s ability to adapt could come in handy.