Stoke City failed in surprise transfer pursuit of retired international last month

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Stoke City failed to persuade Rob Green to come out of retirement last month during their desperate search for goalkeeping reinforcements, per The Athletic.

Michael O’Neill has gone through a real injury crisis as of late, losing Adam Davies to a knee injury in late October and then suffered another blow with Southampton loanee Angus Gunn damaging his ankle ligaments just a few weeks later.

The Northern Irishman moved to bring in experienced stoppers Andy Lonergan and Niki Maenpaa, with the former now at West Bromwich Albion until the end of the season.

They were merely signed as back-ups though to Josef Bursik, who was recalled from his spell at Doncaster Rovers to become the new first-choice at the Bet365 Stadium.

But in a surprise twist to the ‘keeper situation, the Potters tried to sign 40-year-old Green, who retired back in May 2019 following a stint at Chelsea as their third-choice stopper.

The 12-cap England international has since took up punditry in his post-footballing days and he was probably as shocked as anyone as the Championship side tried to coax him into putting his gloves back on.

Stoke though were ultimately unsuccessful in their attempts, with Green remaining retired and the club opting to bring in Maenpaa and Lonergan instead.

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The Verdict

Even though he probably wouldn’t have started a game for Stoke, the signing of Green would’ve probably been one of the strangest transfer stories of 2020.

There’s a strong demand for English goalkeepers in the top few tiers to fill out squad quotas, the best example being Joe Hart signing for Tottenham and Manchester City taking Scott Carson on loan from Derby.

The homegrown quota rules aren’t the same in the Championship as they are in the Premier League – who determine that clubs must register eight homegrown players or leave squad spaces blank – so when you consider Stoke don’t fall under those restrictions it makes the decision to try and sign a retired player even stranger.