Stoke City had a solid 2021-22 season, finishing 14th in the Championship table – although they will no doubt feel disappointed about a lack of progress made over the season, improving by only two points on their 2020-21 total.
Michael O’Neill is now preparing for his third full season in charge of the Potters and will be hoping that his side are able to make a significant leap forward from where they have been in the previous two seasons.
Firstly though, it will be up to the boss to get the recruitment right and bring in players that can help his side’s efforts whilst also getting rid of those he doesn’t need at the club.
With that in mind, here we take a look at the transfer stories that could dominate at Stoke City this month.
Experienced head Joe Allen is out of contract with Stoke at the end of June, and although 32 years of age, he has proven to still be a useful part of the side.
This past season, the midfielder has made 40 appearances for the side and with 139 appearances for the Potters in the Championship, he has plenty of experience to have an impact still.
However, Swansea City have been linked with a potential move for the Welshman which means we could see him move on this season and return to his former club
City are keen to keep hold of the veteran, but whether they will offer Allen the contract that can convince him to stay is yet to be seen.
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Stoke have been linked with a move for Derby County’s Nathan Byrne following the Rams’ relegation to League One.
This would be a good signing for the Potters as Byrne had a strong season making 41 appearances this season.
However, Derby have decided to trigger an extension on the contract of their player, meaning he won’t be able to leave on a free transfer this summer.
Therefore, this will leave Michael O’Neill with a choice of whether he thinks the player is worth bidding for and how much Derby will try and get for the player.
Afobe was on loan with Millwall this season and did well during his time at The Den scoring 12 goals and contributing three assists in 38 appearances.
O’Neill has previously spoken about the impact of the wages of legacy players on the budget, and Afobe is one of those players being referred to.
However, he is under contract at the club until 2023 so it will be interesting to see whether someone comes in for a bid for the player this summer, or if O’Neill wants to try and get the best out of him for another season – it’s more likely though that he will depart.