The Stoke City players who could move on as £14m midfielder leads exits



In lieu of goals or big chances, one of the biggest talking points to come out of Stoke City’s first league game of the season was who wasn’t there.

There were 18 senior Stoke players who didn’t get on the pitch and Michael O’Neill couldn’t have been clearer that it was too many, that the squad was too big and needed trimming.

So who could be heading for the exit?

We’ve been looking at who is vulnerable, who needs a fresh start and who could still be set for an important role at Stoke this season.

Keep, sell or loan – 18 players who didn’t feature

Badou Ndiaye heads towards third exit

Badou Ndiaye is expected to make his third Stoke City exit by joining Fatih Karagümrük, a newly-promoted Turkish top flight club.

Ndiaye has spent most of the past three seasons challenging for the title in Turkey, despite joining Stoke for £14m in January 2018.

He was part of a Galatasaray team that was on course to be crowned champions in 2017/18, he returned on loan to help them retain the title in 2018/19 and was with Trabzonspor in the second half of last season as their challenge faded.

The 29-year-old midfielder – who has made it clear he does not see his future at Stoke, where he is under contract until 2022 – had been tipped to join Besiktas on loan this term but that fell through late last month.

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Outstretched toe is reminiscent of Salif Diao

This week’s column from Simon Lowe

“Mikel class was apparent from the start, although in the first half he did struggle to get to the pace of the game. But you could just see how he will give added cover to the previously shay back four. He’s basically a one-man human shield – our very own marvel superhero if you like.

“He reminds me so much of Salif Diao, who played the same role, and on Saturday Mikel got his long leg outstretched to toe the ball away in several threatening situations, just like Diao used to so effectively…”

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Hanley Town up for goal of the FA Cup as Ricardo Fuller makes debut

It takes some doing to steal the limelight from Ricardo Fuller.

But Brian Barton channelled Fuller with a brilliant solo goal to wrap up Hanley Town’s 5-1 FA Cup preliminary round win over Gresley Rovers. It has already been watched by more than 20,000 on social media with the suggestion that it could be goal of the round.

There won’t be many in the competition all season which see a player run from his own half, take on half the opposition team and slot one into the net.

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