Stoke City striker Benik Afobe is planning to return to England when his loan spell with Turkish side Trabzonspor expires – potentially paving the way for him to join another EFL club.
The striker hasn’t played a game for the Potters since August 2019, and a few days after that outing he was sent on loan to Bristol City for the season.
His 2019/20 campaign was marred by a serious knee injury that was picked up in September, but he was able to return at the end of the season when football returned in the COVID-19 era.
Upon his return to the Potters though following the conclusion of the season, he seemingly wasn’t wanted by Michael O’Neill due to his injury struggle the season prior and he also brought in the likes of Steven Fletcher and Jacob Brown ahead of him.
The temporary switch to Turkey came about and Afobe has scored four goals in 22 Super Lig outings (transfermarkt), but he’s been restricted to just substitute appearances since the start of December.
That’s not exactly how Afobe would have planned his move to have gone, and it looks like he has his sights set on a return to England in the summer – whether that be him getting another chance at Stoke or another EFL club coming in for his services.
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“Trabzonspor has been good for me, but if I’m honest to myself I think I want to come back to England.
“But four months is a long time in a footballer’s career so anything can happen. We change like the weather.
“One day I’m like, ‘Mum, you know what, I miss England’, then other days I’ll be like, ‘Mum, I’m comfy, I’m comfy.’
“I’m just taking it month by month and giving myself the best chance to train well.”
Afobe’s European adventure hasn’t quite gone to plan, and it’s no surprise that he sees himself back in England next season.
His family is out there with him in Turkey but there’s no place quite like home – and it’s just a matter of who he ends up playing for.
Stoke aren’t exactly blessed with depth up-front but you’d have to believe that his time at the Bet365 Stadium may be over, but his estimated weekly wage of £30,000 (per SalarySport) means that he won’t have a lot of options unless he cuts his salary or Stoke come to an agreement with another EFL club to pay a contribution.