Stoke City’s deadline day exodus could be extended to five names following late transfer interest in Moritz Bauer, according to the Stoke Sentinel.
Michael O’Neill did most of his incoming transfer business early in January with the signings of Rhys Norrington-Davies, Jack Clarke and Rabbi Matondo on loan, along with the permanent addition of Alfie Doughty.
And the focus since has been looking at trimming the wage bill, which is still high from the Potters’ Premier League days.
Experienced striker Lee Gregory is off to Derby County, Liam Lindsay looks set for Preston, Badou Ndiaye is returning from Turkey and signing for Saudi side Al-Ain, and Kevin Wimmer – once an £18 million incoming for Stoke – looks set for German second tier side Karlsruhe.
A fifth man looks likely to be heading for the exit door now in the form of Bauer, who has been training with Stoke’s under-23 squad for the past few months.
The Sentinel claim that an Eastern European club has come in with an enquiry for the 29-year-old, who has been out of favour at the Bet365 Stadium since 2018 following Paul Lambert’s sacking, with Gary Rowett, Nathan Jones and now O’Neill choosing not to use him.
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A loan move to Celtic last season could have kickstarted his career again but he only made nine league appearances before being ousted from the line-up by youngster Jeremie Frimpong.
The aforementioned Eastern European move could potentially be to Turkey or perhaps back to Russia, where Bauer spent two years at Rubin Kazan between 2016 and 2018.
There looks to be some serious trimming of the Stoke wage bill today, but it’s highly unlikely that in some of the cases, Bauer and Wimmer especially, that their full salaries will be covered by loaning clubs.
But even getting a chunk of money off the books is a positive, and both defenders have been outcasts for a while and haven’t been close to getting in the Stoke team.
Whilst it’s set to be an uneventful evening incoming wise at the Bet365 Stadium, the squad does indeed look set for a play off push in the second half of the season.