Stoke City chairman Peter Coates has insisted that The Potters “spend plenty” on players as he responded to claims that the club lacks ambition.
Various media personalities and pundits have openly criticised Stoke’s transfer policy during the summer which has seen the club spend just £7 million, with Mark Hughes relying heavily on free transfers and loan deals as he remoulds his first team squad.
TalkSPORT presenter Adrian Durham posed the question “what is the point of Stoke?” to his listeners last week whilst pundits Paul Merson and Robbie Savage both attacked The Potters for a perceived lack of ambition and spending.
However, Coates defended his club’s transfer policy in a forthright interview with BBC Radio Stoke:
“I can assure you that we spend plenty. Too much. This idea that we won’t spend money is for the birds. The media, managers, coaches and players know nothing about football finances. So you should start from that premise before you get the likes of Robbie Savage talking rubbish.”
Stoke have made six signings this summer – Darren Fletcher (free), Eric Maxim Choupo Moting (free), Kurt Zouma (season-long loan), Jese Rodriguez (season-long loan), Josh Tymon (undisclosed) and Bruno Martins Indi (£7 million) – and Coates explained that just because the club has not invested heavily on transfer fees does not mean that they are not spending significant sums on wages, signing on fees and loan fees:
“These players become very expensive. The media urge them on, managers urge them on, and coaches urge them on – but somebody has to pay the bill. We pay big wages and big loan fees.”
Coates also hinted that The Potters are still looking to make multiple new signings before the transfer window closes in two weeks’ time and the Stoke Sentinel are reporting that Tottenham Hotspur defender Kevin Wimmer is among the possible targets.
The 24-year-old is highly rated at White Hart Lane but has struggled to break into the first team picture despite his abundance of talent. He has started just 13 Premier League games since arriving in North East London from FC Cologne two years ago and Tottenham are now willing to cash-in should an appropriate offer be received.
However, Spurs are only willing to sell the £15 million rated defender once they have recruited a replacement whilst Stoke will also face competition from Midland rivals West Bromwich Albion for Wimmer’s signature.
The Potters are not short of central defenders, having secured the arrivals of Kurt Zouma and Bruno Martins Indi, but Mark Hughes may be wary of a lack of squad depth having agreed to sell Philipp Wollscheid to French club Metz.
The 28-year-old is set to depart the Bet365 Stadium after falling considerably down the pecking order, despite having initially impressed in his first few months when he first joined two and a half years ago.
The German spent last season out on loan with Bundesliga side Wolfsburg but endured a turbulent year that saw him involved in training ground bust ups and forced to train with the under-23 side.
Wollscheid returned to The Potteries in the summer but has only been a bit-part player during Stoke’s pre-season preparations.
The arrivals of Zouma and Martins Indi now means that a fresh start is the only realistic solution for the imposing German if he wishes to play regular first team football for the forthcoming season – the Stoke Sentinel have confirmed that the German’s exit is imminent.
Another Stoke player who is expected to depart before the end of the transfer window is club-record signing Giannelli Imbula.
The French midfielder signed for The Potters just eighteen months ago from Porto for a fee in excess of £18 million and was widely expected to make a significant impact in English football.
However, the 24-year-old has not started a game since falling out with Mark Hughes after he was hauled off at half-time in the club’s embarrassing FA Cup exit to Wolverhampton Wanderers in January and towards the end of the previous campaign often failed to earn a place on the bench .
The Mirror are reporting that Stoke have lost patience with the Frenchman and are desperate to get his wages off the books whilst recouping a portion of the original transfer fee that they paid Porto.
Ligue 1 champions AS Monaco have emerged as the frontrunners for Imbula’s signature and are proposing a season-long loan deal for the midfielder which would be become a permanent move if he were to play a certain number of games.
Stoke are determined to negotiate a straight cash deal but may have to bow to Monaco’s wishes of an initial temporary switch with time running out before the transfer window closes.