Tony Scholes makes Stoke City transfer claim after summer clear-out



Tony Scholes says the club’s transfer dealings this summer are far from finalised despite being pleased with the business that has so far been conducted.

The Potters sprung into life last month, swooping to capture two of Michael O’Neill’s ‘A-List’ targets in the shape of Watford’s England Under 21 international Ben Wilmot and newly-promoted Norwich City’s Mario Vrancic.

Gillingham’s Jack Bonham also arrived at the bet365 Stadium as the Potters boss added to his stable of goalkeepers following the termination of Angus Gunn’s loan deal and the completion of Blondey Nna Noukeu’s temporary move to Crawley Town.

The talented Cameroonian stopper’s loan deal to the League Two side is just one of a remarkable 14 outgoings that have been sanctioned this summer, headlined by Academy product Nathan Collins’ big money switch to Burnley.

As well as sanctioning further loan deals for the likes of Benik Afobe, Ryan Woods and Peter Etebo, the Potters have also been active in clearing their decks of a number of players that have lingered in North Staffordshire long beyond their sell-by dates.

“It has been a very busy summer, but to be honest I can’t remember one that hasn’t been,” the Potters Chief Executive said.

“We were able to get a couple of key signings in early, in terms of Ben (Wilmot) and Mario (Vrancic), which was really pleasing and something Michael was keen to get done.

“But what we have done really well this summer is to have moved a number of players on; which in the nicest possible way we have needed to do.

“It was in the best interest of the players, and the best interests of ourselves as a club, for them to move on and further their careers elsewhere.

“We have managed to do that – some have been players who haven’t played for a long time, others have been loan deals and other younger players have gone out to further their development.

“Other deals have been too good for us to turn down, and when I say other deals I am largely referring to the Nathan Collins deal.

“At this point in time, in terms of where we are at as a club, it was too good a deal for us to turn down, and for Nathan too, who had shown a desire to compete in the Premier League.”

The Potters could reportedly receive £15m from Burnley for Collins; a windfall that together with the offloading of several high earners, has gone a significant way to easing the pressure that the FFP (Financial Fair Play) regulations had put on the club.

“By moving on the number of players that we have done, we have manoeuvred a little bit of room in terms of finances and within the squad, which is what we have wanted to do,” Scholes added.

“We have completed a few important incomings too, in terms of Ben and Mario, and of course Jack, deals that at this stage look to be very good ones for the club.

“But we are still active and working on other possible signings too.

“Given the work we have done with the outgoings, there is still room to bring one or two more in too – hopefully before the season starts, but certainly before the closure of the transfer window.”

The coffers are likely to further be bolstered too with the departure of Sam Vokes to Wycombe Wanderers soon expected to be confirmed, whilst Lee Gregory, Tom Ince and James McClean could also depart before the end of next month, providing suitors can be found for the trio.

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