Two More Leave the Potters
Stoke City have continued their cull of wages under Mike Bassett, after loaning out two more high-profile names in Wilson Palacios and Cameron Jerome, to Benfica and Wigan Athletic respectively. This double deal follows the departures of Thomas Sorensen and Glenn Whelan, and shows us that Mike Bassett wants to improve his finances heavily.
As we know, Bassett's predecessor Mark Hughes left the club following a dispute with chairman Peter Coates over the transfer budgets made available to him. Whilst the new manager may share some of these concerns, he hasn't made them public, and is acting upon them by trying to remove unnecessarily high wages from the bill. This started with the sale of Dane keeper Sorensen, which was followed by the departure of Glenn Whelan to Norwich City, and now these two loans. Benfica and Wigan are rumoured to be paying the majority of their new acquisition's wages, which will have enticed Stoke into accepting.
Some fans are now getting worried that with the sale of another central midfielder, Wilson Palacios, their team needs to get on the market and seal some deals, to provide them with the ability to achieve their targets this season. Steven N'Zonzi is set to be first-choice in defensive midfield this season, and was expected to be partnered by Glenn Whelan before he completed his move to Norwich City two days ago. There have been several names linked with a switch to the Britannia, most recently Amir Abrashi of Grasshoppers.
Cameron Jerome's departure has been relatively well-received by the Potters fans, as he was never generally accepted on the terraces. The 25-year-old scored just 4 goals last season after a £4 million move from Birmingham City, and wasn't expected to be first-choice under the new manager, with Peter Crouch, Jonathan Walters and Kenwyne Jones all in front of him in the pecking order. However, the striker was still on £20k per week at Stoke, which is a hefty sum for someone fourth-choice, so was in course shipped out to make room for new signings. Whether he will be missed at the Britannia or not remains to be seen, but the early signs suggest not.
With several departures from the Britannia, there is no doubt that more signings are on the way. Mikael Lustig is the sole signing for Mike Bassett this summer, but there are rumours that as many as three players could be close to signing for Stoke as they look to make a charge for a mid-table spot this season, and maybe even Europa League football. He may only be a couple of weeks into his reign at the Potteries, but the signs for the future are very promising indeed.