Having joined Stoke City on a four-and-a-half-year contract from FC Dallas in the 2013 January transfer window for a reported £2.5million, you imagine those associated with the Potters will have been expecting more from Brek Shea than they eventually got from the American international.
In the two years he spent at the Bet365 Stadium, the winger made just five appearances in all competitions for Stoke, failing to find the back of the net or provide an assist during those outings.
After enduring two underwhelming loan spells at Birmingham and Barnsley during that time as well, Shea would eventually return to America just under two years after he had joined Stoke, moving to the then newly formed MLS side Orlando City.
Following that return to the States, Shea has never really been able to produce quite the same form that saw Stoke bring him to the Premier League back in 2013, at least not yet.
Despite playing alongisde the likes of Kaka during his spell in Orlando, the winger – who in fairness would also spend time playing at left-back – would score just three goals in 47 games during a two-year spell with the club.
Following the end of that spell in Florida, Shea would remain in the MLS, but did head north to Canada, joining Vancouver Whitecaps.
Over the next two years with the Canadian club Shea did see a slight improvement in terms of game time and goals, although one that may still have left something to be desired, as he scored ten times in 65 outings, before heading back south of the border to join Atlanta United in America in 2019.
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That move would be a brief and seemingly disappointing one for Shea, who made 21 appearances for the club without scoring, before leaving with just one season for The Five Stripes under his belt, with the winger again struggling with injury issues that had often blighted his career, as Atlanta failed to defend the MLS title they had won the season before.
By that point Shea’s international opportunities had dried up, with the last of his 34 caps for the United States having come all the way back in 2015, and he was without a club until the summer of 2020, when he joined another newly formed MLS franchise in the shape of Inter Miami, who had helped the winger through his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury.
With that move, it seems as though the now 30-year-old Shea has sparked something of a mini-resurgence in his career, having scored four goals in 13 matches for the club.
Shea’s contract with Inter Miami is now set to expire at the end of this season, so he will no doubting be hoping to impress again over the next few months, to earn a new deal, and avoid the pressure of finding a new club that has appears to have hung over regularly since that ill-fated spell with the Potters came to an end just over six years ago.