When Michael O’Neill first arrived at Stoke, Mame Biram Diouf must have thought that he would be handed a chance to get back in the first team.
It would prove to be a beneficial move for Diouf, who took to the Bundesliga well, scoring a respectable 35 goals in 71 games.
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Impressing for the German club, Diouf would soon find interest from England once again as Stoke made a move to bring him into the club.
The Senegalese striker moved to the Bet365 stadium in 2014 and he has since experienced it all with the Potters, playing in the Premier League, and suffering relegation in the 2017/2018 season.
A regular starter during the first few season so his Stoke career, Diouf has seen playing time hard to come by of late, making the odd appearance in the starting eleven, notably when scoring the winner against Wigan Athletic in November.
A summer move now looks likely and the former Manchester United man is not expected to be short on offers from interested clubs.
Over the past few seasons at Stoke, Diouf has proven nothing short of being a professional, remaining loyal to the club, even when selected for the club’s Under-23 sides.
His determination and loyalty has been something to admire, where the majority who had little playing, would have forced an exit.
It has been refreshing to see, but now 32, Diouf must know that an exit is the only thing that will see him play regularly again and that could prove to be the last chance of his career.
With very few signs of a future at Stoke, Diouf is unlikely to get past Tyrese Campbell, who continues to be O’Neill’s top striker at the club.
Expected to call time on his career with the club this summer, Stoke fans should have nothing but praise for the former Senegal international.
Whilst he may not have scored countless goals for them, Diouf has always given his all to the club and he will be fondly remembered for years to come.
A move elsewhere in Europe, or in fact with another Championship club will see plenty wishing him luck for the next chapter of his career…