Stoke City midfielder Badou N’Diaye is poised to become the first player to depart the bet365 Stadium ahead of the January transfer window.
Reports from the Telegraph claim that the 29-year-old is closing in on a loan move to Trabzonspor, who will also have the option to make the move permanent next summer.
Besiktas and Galatasaray were also linked with the midfielder, but he now looks set to fly out to Turkey within the next 48 hours to finalise a move.
Stoke are keen to get N’Diaye’s £35,000-a-week wages off the books, with O’Neill reportedly under pressure to slash the club’s £50m wage bill to conform to the EFL’s new profitability rules.
The Senegalese midfielder – who spent the whole of last season on loan at Galatasaray – was reintroduced to the Potters’ starting line-up by Nathan Jones.
But despite being a key player under the Welshman, N’Diaye has started just one league game under O’Neill, with a January exit looking increasingly likely.
Can you get 13 out of 13 on this Stoke quiz?
Here, we take a look at one winner and one loser if N’Diaye completes a move to Trabzonspor…
Winner: Ryan Woods
If, or perhaps when N’Diaye leaves Stoke, then this could secretly be a massive boost for Ryan Woods.
The 25-year-old found game time hard to come by under Jones, but the former Brentford man has started five games since the appointment of O’Neill.
N’Diaye’s departure could in turn mean that the holding midfield role is Woods’ to lose, as he looks to guide Stoke out of the relegation zone.
It has been a rollercoaster of a time at Stoke for Woods, but this departure could allow him to kick on from now and keep his place in the team for good.
Loser: Peter Etebo
As per the Telegraph, Etebo is another player who faces an uncertain future at the bet365 Stadium and could also be set to leave in January.
A similar type of player to N’Diaye, the tenacious, combative midfielder is yet to feature under O’Neill this season due to various reasons, but could be on his way out next month.
The Nigerian international signed for Stoke from Feirense last summer for a fee of £6.35m, after standing out at the FIFA World Cup in Russia.
But O’Neill knows which players he wants to work with, and Etebo doesn’t seem to be one of those players, meaning that an exit could be on the cards.