Why Stoke City would be wise to part ways with Mame Biram Diouf
According to claims from the Turkish media, as relayed by the Stoke Sentinel, Stoke City forward Mame Biram Diouf is the subject of interest from Turkish top-flight outfit Goztepe ahead of the January transfer window.
Goztepe already have former Stoke City and Birmingham City striker Cameron Jerome on their books and they have not set their sights on Diouf to add more firepower to their strike force.
Diouf, though, is not the only Potters star to have been linked with a move to Turkey ahead of the mid-season trading period, with compatriot Badou Ndiaye also wanted by Trabzonspor on loan for the rest of the campaign. (h/t Stoke Sentinel)
The 31-year-old, who has represented Senegal at 2015 and 2017 Africa Cup of Nations and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, is out of contract at the Bet365 Stadium next summer, and Stoke City are yet to show any inclination to offer him an extended stay at the club.
The 51-cap Senegalese international found himself frozen out of the first-team picture at the club under former managers Garry Rowett and Nathan Jones following the Potters’ relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2017-18 campaign before Michael O’Neill’s arrival breathed some life back into his tottering career.
Diouf featured as a late substitute in the 4-2 victory over Barnsley before coming off the bench once again to score the winner in the 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic.
The veteran hitman was also named on the bench for the trip to Cardiff City but he didn’t enter the field of play in an eventual 1-0 defeat for the Potters.
The 31-year-old made a name for himself at Molde in the Norwegian top-flight before subsequently featuring for Man United and Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League.
However, it was at Hannover in the German Bundesliga that he enjoyed his most prolific phase, accumulating 35 goals and 15 assists in 71 appearances.
Those impressive returns paved the way for a free-transfer to Stoke City in the summer of 2014 and Mame Biram Diouf immediately proved his worth with an 11-goal season in the Premier League.
However, he failed to replicate those numbers in the subsequent campaigns before the Potters’ eventual relegation from the top-flight.
To put things into perspective, Stoke City hardly have any reason to get carried away by the mini-resurgence of Mame Biram Diouf under O’Neill and parting ways with the veteran during the mid-season trading period could be a win-win situation for all parties.
Diouf, who is set to turn 32 in December, was gathering dust for the U-23s just a few months back, and with the likes of Lee Gregory, Scott Hogan and Sam Vokes clearly ahead of him in the pecking order, it won’t be a bad ideal for the Potters to trim down their wage bill by getting him off the books in January.
With the veteran’s contract set to expire next summer, the January window looks like the last opportunity for Stoke to move him on and make some kind of money from his sale.
It is worth reminding that the Senegalese star, who joined the Potters back in their Premier League days, is one of the highest earners at the club and offloading him could go a long way towards facilitating further reinvestment to improve the squad.
Stoke City already have some high-profile players like Giannelli Imbula and Kevin Wimmer out on loan at other clubs in Europe and O’Neill surely needs to find a way to trim down a large squad that has been put together by his predecessors in a bid to free up space for new arrivals.
To that end, Diouf, who is clearly past his prime at 31 and has only played a bit-part role at the club in recent times, doesn’t seem to have a big future any longer at the Bet365 Stadium and moving him on looks like a smart idea for the Potters.
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All in all, Stoke City parting ways with Mame Biram Diouf in January amidst interest from Turkey could be a fair settlement for all parties.