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Opinion: Stoke City must surely be ready to sanction player exit amid comments from rival manager 



Since taking the Stoke City job two years ago Michael O’Neill has done a good job of trimming down the squad gradually and getting rid of high earners that did not have a future under him.

That approach has been a slow one and has taken the last three or four transfer windows to sort out. However, Stoke are looking like they are starting to make progress this season having moved on a lot of unwanted players now and they are showing signs they can challenge for promotion this term.

One player though that remains on their books from that lavish outlay in the transfer market following their relegation from the Premier League in 2018 is Benik Afobe. 

The Potters would have been hoping that Afobe could be the main man for them upfront in the Championship under Gary Rowett and help fire them to an immediate return to the Premier League. 

However, despite scoring on his debut in a 3-1 defeat at Leeds United, Afobe never really managed to reach the heights that would have been hoped for in his first season with the Potters. He ended an underwhelming 2018/19 campaign with eight league goals in 45 appearances. 

In the summer of 2019 with Nathan Jones now in charge, the Potters allowed Afobe to join Bristol City on a season-long loan deal. Despite making a strong start for the Robins with him scoring three goals in five appearances he suffered an ACL injury that left him out of action until after the campaign restarted following the lockdown.

In total, he managed to make 12 appearances for the Robins in that 2019/20 campaign. Last term, Afobe remained out of favour under O’Neill and he was sent out on loan once again to Turkish side Trabzonspor. He finished last season with five goals in 29 appearances in Turkey.

Afobe’s status in the Stoke squad remained as a player that was out of favour in the summer and he was sent out on loan to Millwall for this term. 

That move has reunited him with Rowett and he has managed to enjoy a much better time of it with the Lions. So far this term, Afobe has fired home three goals in his 13 Championship appearances. 

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1) Ryan Shawcross

Rowett has now revealed to News at Den that he would be interested in signing the forward on a permanent deal from Stoke. Although he did confess that it remains out of the Lions’ hands and the fear is that if he has a strong period in the rest of the campaign other sides may come in for him.

The forward’s current deal expires at Stoke in the summer, so the time to recoup some money for him is in January. Given Millwall are now keen on a permanent transfer the Potters surely have to do all they can to negotiate the right deal with the Lions in the winter window.

Buying him now would make sense for Millwall because it would see them beat off any other competition for him. While Stoke would get money back for him and also finally have him off their wage bill. 

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Stoke City must surely be ready to sanction player exit amid comments from rival manager 

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