Alex Neil drops transfer hit around on-loan Stoke City players | OneFootball

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Football League World

·4 February 2023

Alex Neil drops transfer hit around on-loan Stoke City players

Article image:Alex Neil drops transfer hit around on-loan Stoke City players

Stoke City manager Alex Neil has suggested the club could look to make the loan moves of some members of their current squad permanent, to meet matchday regulations.

The Potters have utilitised the loan market considerably over this season’s two transfer windows, with seven players currently on loan with the club until the end of the current campaign.

They are Southampton’s Will Smallbone, Chelsea’s Dujon Sterling, Matija Sarkic and Ki-Jana Hoever of Wolves, Manchester United’s Axel Tuanzebe, Bournemouth’s Ben Pearson, and Bersant Celina of Dijon.

However, EFL regulations state that a club can only include a maximum of five loan players in a single matchday squad, meaning at least two of those seven, will be unavailable to Neil in each game.

One way Stoke could get around that, is to make the moves for some of those players permanent, something the Potters boss previously did when he was in charge at Preston.

Now it seems as though he is not ruling out the prospect of doing that again, even if logistics could make it difficult to do so.

Asked about the possibility of turning some of those loan moves permanent to ensure he has all seven available in every matchday squad, Neil told The Stoke Sentinel“It’s got potential (to do the same at Stoke) but there’s a difference between the lads we managed to recruit then and where they were in terms of affordability and some of the lads we’ve brought in this time.

“We’ve brought guys in from the Premier League or close to the Premier League. What’s significant is the fact is that since I’ve been here we’ve had six loan players in the building and not at any point in six months have we had them all available at the same time.

“I’d rather go heavy and have to disappoint a couple than go light and leave ourselves vulnerable. It’s not an ideal situation but it was never going to be. I’d rather make it difficult for myself than difficult for the team.”

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Article image:Alex Neil drops transfer hit around on-loan Stoke City players

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The Verdict

You do feel this is a move that is worth considering for Neil and Stoke at the very least.

If he is able to turn two of those loans into permanent moves, then it will expand the selection options available to him for the rest of the season.

That in turn will mean he has more quality to turn to in each game, and will give Stoke a better chance of picking up the results they need to climb the Championship table.

As Neil says, the fact these are all top-flight players who are in on loan could make it harder to agree on such deals, but given the extra opportunities it opens up, you feel they ought to be exploring it at the very least.

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