Stoke City boss Michael O’Neill wants Sam Clucas to stay at the bet365 Stadium this summer even though he has acknowledged the possibility of him leaving, according to the Stoke Sentinel.
Clucas, 30, has one year left on his contract in Staffordshire and has attracted interest from several Championship rivals including Nottingham Forest and West Brom – and Football Insider exclusively reported a £3m fee will seal the deal for sides who want the midfielder.
As per the Stoke Sentinel report, Clucas has a ‘complicated contract situation’ and with just 12 months left on his remaining deal, Michael O’Neill may be tempted to cash in on the 30-year-old whilst they still have the chance to.
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However, the Northern Irishman wants Clucas to remain in Stoke for next season, even despite his injury troubles last season, as they look to improve on their mediocre second-tier finishes in the last three seasons.
After seeing his side remain stuck in midtable though, the midfielder could be tempted by a move to a team like West Brom who are likely to be competing for promotion once again next season. He could start alongside Joe Allen again next season, with O’Neill denying reports that the Welshman was being offered to other clubs to cut costs this summer.
Clucas first joined Stoke from Swansea City for a £6m fee back in 2018, but their spending spree that summer under Gary Rowett didn’t pay off and the Potters are now paying the price for this overspending. With the midfielder reportedly available for just £3m, their fans may have seen the last of him in a red and white shirt.
The 30-year-old is one of the more valuable players in Michael O’Neill’s first-team squad, so it’s no surprise to hear that he wants to keep him at the club beyond this summer.
Key player Nathan Collins has already left this month to go to the Premier League with Burnley and with a few others leaving for free during the off-season, the club will be hoping to focus on some incomings in preparation for the 2021/22 campaign.
Ben Wilmot has already joined from Watford as a replacement for Collins – and if they can make a few more shrewd additions and replace any further key departures – the Potters will be looking towards a much brighter future.
They have a capable manager in place and previous Premier League experience on their side, now is the time to ramp up preparations for the opening league fixture against Reading.
Trying to tie Clucas down to a new deal will be a part of that – but it will be a very difficult (if not impossible) task.