Kieran Maguire believes that Stoke City are under ‘an awful lot of pressure’ to offload players as they struggle with finances.
The Potters suffered relegation from the Premier League in 2018 but have struggled to challenge for promotion back to the top flight despite keeping hold of a number of players from their time at the top.
Like many others, Michael O’Neill’s side are facing increasing pressure to pull their finances into line – something which is getting increasingly difficult amid the ongoing economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to football finance expert Maguire, Stoke are feeling the impact of having the most expensive squad in Championship history.
Speaking on The Price Of Football Podcast, Maguire said: “Stoke City haven’t published their accounts for 2020. Now they’re not alone in that, although they are in a minority of clubs, but I did get hold of a copy of the Bet 365 accounts who happen to own Stoke City.
“In the small print there, and as you know, I enjoy a bit a small print on a Sunday morning, it said that Stoke lost £87m in 2020, which is pretty substantial for a club that had a relatively modest performance.
“Stoke also have, I think according to my records, they’ve got the most expensive squad ever assembled in the Championship. A squad which cost £196m.
”So Michael O’Neill is probably right, [in] that there’s an awful lot of pressure at Stoke to get people out of the door before he can recruit.”
Are these 17 facts about Stoke City's club badge true or false?
It’s going to take a huge effort to get Stoke City on a sustainable footing.
The Potters face a massive task to reduce the wage bill at the Bet365 Stadium and that process needs to be kicked up a notch this summer.
Michael O’Neill’s task is unenviable, but all he can do is ensure that the club remain competitive while they look to offload the higher-earning players.
If he can do that then it won’t be long until the club can start building for the future.