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Stoke City confirm departure of four first-team players



Stoke City have confirmed that a quartet of first-team players will leave the club this summer.

Steven Fletcher, Tom Ince, James Chester and Tommy Smith will all leave the Bet365 Stadium when their contracts expire at the end of June.

In a club statement on Tuesday afternoon, the club confirmed their departures, along with the loanees at the club.

“We would like to place on record our thanks to Tommy, James, Steven and Tom for their contributions and wish them every success for the future.” the club statement read.

“The club can also confirm that loanees Taylor Harwood-Bellis, Jaden Philogene-Bidace, Romaine Sawyers, Josh Maja, Liam Moore & Abdallah Sima have returned to their respective clubs.

“We thank them for their contributions and wish them well for the future.”

Steven Fletcher joined the Potters ahead of the 20/21 season, scoring nine goals and registering five assists in his first season at the Bet365 Stadium.

Quiz: What club do these 25 players from the Stoke City 2016/17 squad play for now?

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This campaign he made 35 Championship appearances, scoring just three goals.

Tommy Smith, too, featured somewhat regularly for the Potters this season, appearing 32 times in the Championship and laying on six assists for his teammates.

Tom Ince and James Chester featured less frequently at the club in 2021/22, with the pair having managed 11 and 17 Stoke City league appearances between them this season.

Ince spent the latter stages of the season on loan at Reading where he appeared 15 times.

The Verdict

Stoke City clearly have a big summer ahead of them.

After a disappointing 2021/22 campaign, Martin O’Neill will be looking to re-build his squad for next season and letting these players walk away from the club gives him space to do that.

With this quartet leaving and their loan players above returning, there is a gaping hole left in the Potters’ squad though.

Plenty of re-enforcements will be needed when the transfer window opens this summer.

BJTC accredited MA Multimedia Journalism graduate. Freelance Football Writer for FLW.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Stoke City confirm departure of four first-team players

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