Dutch side AZ Alkmaar are seeking to do another deal for Stoke City defender Bruno Martins Indi after a successful loan spell in the 2020-21 campaign, according to the Stoke Sentinel.
The 29-year-old was a mainstay in their side last season, playing 27 times in the Eredivisie as they finished in third place behind Ajax and PSV and Martins Indi also made five appearances in the Europa League.
With AZ qualified for the Europa League once again, this time as they go into the play-off round, they are looking to strike a deal with the Potters for the 34-cap Netherlands international – although it will probably have to be another loan agreement again.
Martins Indi arrived at the bet365 Stadium in 2016 initially on loan, but joined permanently a year later for a £7 million fee, signing a five-year contract with the Staffordshire outfit.
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That means he has one year remaining on that deal and Spotrac suggest that he’s on £60,000 a week from Stoke’s Premier League days, and that’s a salary you’d assume the club would be very happy to get rid of this summer.
Martins Indi made 70 Championship appearances over two seasons following Stoke’s relegation from the top flight despite being a top earner, but this summer is all about trimming the wage bill for Michael O’Neill so you’d expect the left-footer to not be around come the start of the season.
Whether AZ can strike a permanent deal remains to be seen but Stoke have managed to get rid of Kevin Wimmer this summer – so anything is really possible.
Stoke are still being hampered by some big wages from their time in the Premier League, but one by one they seem to be heading out of the exit door slowly but surely.
Martins Indi will be one of the top earners at the Potters no doubt about it, and AZ probably weren’t paying much of his salary for the duration of last season, but unlike others who were around in the Premier League for the club and were outcasted, the Dutchman was actually a regular in the Championship between 2018 and 2020 as he failed to secure a move away.
After last season at AZ though, Martins Indi will believe that he belongs in European football and with the wage cuts Stoke are making this summer, it would be a shock if the club wouldn’t facilitate a deal to let him return home permanently.