Stoke City will be without new recruit Abdallah Sima for their weekend clash with in-form Huddersfield Town as he has not yet received a UK visa, Michael O’Neill has confirmed.
The 20-year-old, who has been on international duty with Senegal, secured a deadline day switch to Premier League outfit Brighton & Hove Albion in what is believed to be a £6 million deal, per The Athletic.
Sima scored 11 goals in 21 league outings for Slavia Prague in Czech Republic’s top flight last season and also four times in the Europa League, which prompted the Seagulls to swoop for his signature late in the transfer window.
Despite perhaps needing some added depth at the top end of the pitch, Graham Potter chose not to keep Sima at the AMEX Stadium but instead loan him straight out to Stoke, who already have strong options at the top end of the pitch in Sam Surridge, Jacob Brown and Steven Fletcher, with Tyrese Campbell also soon to return from injury.
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Sima’s Potters debut will be delayed though due to circumstances out of O’Neill’s control, with the Stoke boss explaining that the youngster isn’t allowed into the country yet.
“Sima isn’t here yet,” O’Neill revealed, per the Stoke Sentinal.
“He obviously has to go through a visa process, and our understanding is that his intended arrival in the UK is on Monday evening.
“Between Brighton and whatever is necessary from a visa point of view, and being in Paris for visa meetings too, he’s had to be patient.
“We’ll have him in here all being well on Tuesday.”
It’s a blow for O’Neill to not have Sima in his plans yet, but he probably would have only made the substitutes bench anyway.
Sima featured in both of Senegal’s international matches over the two-week club football break and because of the air miles he will have racked up he would have needed time to recover.
In Fletcher, Surridge and Brown, O’Neill has enough firepower at his disposal for the visit of the Terriers but Sima’s pace in the latter stages of the game may have been useful to call upon.
It looks like next Saturday’s clash with Derby County at Pride Park is a more realistic target for Sima’s debut and he’s set to be an exciting addition to the ranks at the bet365 Stadium as Stoke aim for promotion.