Stoke City manager Michael O’Neill has confirmed that the Potters are interested in Manchester City forward Liam Delap but suggested that they will have to remain patient to see if they can win the race for him this summer.
Sources have told Football League World recently that the Potters have been confident over securing a successful loan move for Delap before the transfer window closes.
While there have also been other reports indicating that a potential move to the Bet365 Stadium could be close to going through.
However, The Telegraph reporter John Percy has subsequently revealed that the Potters’ chances of securing Delap’s services for the campaign are now less than 50/50 at this stage.
That comes with Stoke thought to have agreed a £5.5 million deal with Bournemouth for forward Sam Surridge, who will now undergo a medical according to Percy.
Quiz: What was the score the last time Stoke City played at each of these 24 stadiums?
Speaking to Radio Stoke, via the Stoke Sentinel, O’Neill confessed that Delap has indeed been on the club’s radar this summer but he was keen to stress that the Potters do not hold an advantage in the race because of the presence of Rory Delap in their set up.
He said: “He’s a very, very good young player. I’ve only seen him play live once, which was ironically against our own under-18s – but he was unplayable that night to be fair in his own age group.
“He’s obviously stepped up since then and done well around the under-23s and been around the first team and trained.
“We obviously know about Liam’s situation with Rory being part of our coaching staff but what people have to remember is that it won’t be our decision, it will be his parent club’s decision and what they feel will be the right pathway for Liam.
“To think that we’re in any way advantaged because Rory is at the club won’t be the case. They will have a pathway for Liam which might mean they decide to keep him as part of their squad at this minute in time.
“He’s like a lot of young players who are around Premier League squads – particularly around bigger clubs – you have to be patient and they may or may not become available.”
These comments from O’Neill suggest that Delap is very much still someone that Stoke are keen to secure on a loan deal if they possibly can do this summer.
However, recent updates have suggested that is going to be challenging for them to achieve now which is something that the Northern Irishman acknowledges here.
The hope would have been that having Delap on the coaching staff at the Bet365 Stadium could have influenced things in a positive fashion, but O’Neill seems to have denied that is having any real impact in their pursuit of the forward this summer.
Manchester City are facing a major dilemma over where is best to send the forward, their priority needs to be on him getting games of course but it is also vital that he makes a move to a side that play in the right way so that he can transition back to the Premier League champions smoothly.
Delap would be an excellent signing for Stoke if they can still pull off a deal for him, but at this stage, it seems that they might have to brace themselves for disappointment.